“Morally I’m right, legally I got pinged”: the case of Jerra Jim versus the council

Dominic Giannini 7 September 2020 50
Jim Holmes

Jim Holmes says he has been made a scapegoat by council rangers. Photo: Michael Weaver.

If every man’s home is his castle, what’s the nature strip?

Reminiscent of Darryl Kerrigan fighting all the way to the High Court in The Castle, Jerrabomberra resident Jim Holmes decided to take on the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) over two parking fines – and finished more than $3000 out of pocket.

Like many residents, Jim has parked his car up on the kerb to get off a busy street. He says most of the street’s residents opt to do the same, or park completely off the road on the verge.

“I have parked in this position outside of my Jerrabomberra residence for many years without issue,” Jim said.

“It just gets me off the busy road a little. There have been many accidents along my section of road – all side-swipes or rear-enders.”

But now Jim claims he has been made a scapegoat after a ranger hit him with two fines, despite leaving all the other cars in the street untouched.

“Morally I am right, but legally I got pinged,” Jim said.

The evidence

The photo taken by the ranger outside Jim’s home in Jerrabomberra. Photo: Supplied.

The two offences attracted $536 in fines but ended up costing Jim fees, a solicitor and ten months of angst because of COVID-19 delays and court adjournments.

Now he wants to warn residents who may have become complacent about parking outside their own homes because “right through Queanbeyan and Jerrabomberra, there remain hundreds of cars, trailers and caravans still parked permanently on nature strips”.

READ ALSO: Is it time to rethink Canberra’s roads?

NSW road rule number 197 prohibits parking on footpaths and nature strips except “on road-related areas that are specifically intended or constructed for the purpose of parking of vehicles”.

However, off-road parking may be considered on a narrow road where “on-road parking on one or both sides of the road restricts the free movement of vehicles”.

In true Darryl Kerrigan fashion, Jim is looking to continue his kerb crusade. He maintains that the rules are ambiguous and it is a safety issue along his street. He says he will seek a second opinion from another solicitor after the first decided to stop pursuing the matter.

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50 Responses to “Morally I’m right, legally I got pinged”: the case of Jerra Jim versus the council
ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 6:53 pm 10 Sep 20

I wish our Canberra parking inspectors had the same attitude. People kill the street trees here by parking on “their” nature strip and the parking officers look the other way. Even in heritage zones like Reid the street trees are dying.

JC JC 5:38 pm 10 Sep 20

In another article which mentions this story the street name is mentioned, it is Brudenell Drive.

Looking at google maps you an actually see this guys vehicle parked out the front of his house.

That picture confirmed what I suspected which is the footpath swings from being in a few metres to being next to the road at his property and looking at the google earth picture it would appear the front of the guys car is over part of the footpath where it is close to the gutter. If this is how he regularly parks I would have no doubt the reason why he has been targeted (and not others in the same street) is someone has complained that he is partially blocking the footpath.

tim_c tim_c 4:59 pm 10 Sep 20

Why would you buy/rent a property that didn’t have sufficient space for your vehicles?
It’s about time some of the road rules were enforced – we have these laws that people get used to breaking habitually, and then they get the idea that others don’t matter. If parking on nature strips is not an issue, or driving in clear weather with fog lights on is not glaring to other drivers then change the laws, otherwise enforce the laws – it’s pointless to have laws that aren’t enforced and end up being disobeyed more often than not.

Paula Simcocks Paula Simcocks 11:23 pm 09 Sep 20

Many roads especially in Jerrabomberra too narrow to park safely on road. The council might win the money but lose the people by foolish parking regulations

azel azel 5:43 pm 08 Sep 20

I live on this street and there has been 6 accident in the last year.
3 times some have rear-ended a park car. this why people are parking on the kerb
2 x rear ends on the road and yesterday someone ran to a tree.
The council needs to do something before someone dies

    tim_c tim_c 5:08 pm 10 Sep 20

    Why is it the responsibility of the Council to do something just because people can’t think far enough ahead to buy/rent a property that can accommodate them and their stuff?
    But I’d also suggest that maybe the people rear-ending parked cars or driving into trees shouldn’t be driving on public roads (how long before these people run over someone walking near the road?)

Rita White Rita White 1:01 pm 08 Sep 20

Rules are rules

ssek ssek 11:22 am 08 Sep 20

Look at all the local busybodies on here.
Normal people don’t care if somebody parks on a nature strip. Find something better to do with your time.

Melissa Pearce Melissa Pearce 7:08 am 08 Sep 20

Double standards by QPRC - I was fined for the same when attending a clients home on a narrow street. The week before I reported to council and police that a QPRC owned vehicle was driving around town on a weekend with 4 kids in the back seat, clearly one of them wasn’t restrained. Far more of a safety issue than a car parked on a nature strip. What response from QPRC? Crickets.

jetabe007 jetabe007 12:59 am 08 Sep 20

Finally a good use for the road. I should place all my vehicles on it as per law, keeping my driveway and or garage reserved for morning walks.
I hope my neighbours also get in on this as vehicles on both sides will complete the look.

Brian Hill Brian Hill 12:24 am 08 Sep 20

If his place is like every other one in the photo then he’s got a driveway, he should park there.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:55 am 08 Sep 20

    That's what I suggested. That does seem the logical thing.

Conrado Pengilley Conrado Pengilley 6:51 pm 07 Sep 20

The government should maintain nature strips if the rate payer has no right to use them.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:38 pm 07 Sep 20

This is surely a case of the Council being prodded by a narky neighbour – unless they’ve started taking themselves more seriously since the merger, Queanbeyan seemed to have a fairly relaxed approach to such matters compared to what happens on this side of the border.

JC JC 5:17 pm 07 Sep 20

Looking at the picture I wonder if the reason he got a fine is because the footpath at that point moves from being a few metres in to being next to the gutter and it is close to an intersection.

Whilst illegal people only normally get done if they are causing an obstruction of some type.

July Williams July Williams 5:01 pm 07 Sep 20

I have an issue when parked cars block pedestrian access.

astro2 astro2 3:29 pm 07 Sep 20

“Morally, I’m right”………OK Boomer.

Bibi Perešin Bibi Perešin 3:15 pm 07 Sep 20

We had a nasty neighbour with nothing better to do call council and report us and a neighbour for parking in a reserve next to our house and we all got a warning but we told we will get fives next time.

It annoys me that they only target some cars, if your going to fine, find them all or just get a grip and realise that not blocking a road is much better.

Also if we can’t park on it then why doesn’t the council maintain their nature strip.....they let it get overgrown and weedy before doing any mowing and another neighbour dig it up to make a bmx ramp....

Alice Paris Alice Paris 3:15 pm 07 Sep 20

This is infantile so this guys moral code is to damage public property?

    Alice Paris Alice Paris 3:46 pm 07 Sep 20

    nature strips are designed for street trees which provide essential cooling services in summer and wind mitigating services in winter as well as other essential ecological sergices like clean air, slowing and retention of water and drawing rain to an area. Parking on them compacts the soil damaging the soil nutrient cycling process and preventing trees from taking up water and providing those services. It also means there is no understorey to speak of that can grow and this leads to erosion, dust and an increase in allergies in summer.

    Alice Paris Alice Paris 4:26 pm 07 Sep 20

    There should be trees and often in places where there are no trees they have died because people have parked on the nature strips. Even if for eg there is no room for a tree the nature strip should be planted out with native understorey plantings to mitigate changes to the hydrology caused by the hard surfaces around it like roads and footpaths. In that photo however the nature strips look the traditional size from properly designed suburbs in which case there should be a tree. As an illustration with a local eucalypt on that nature strip there would be a reduction in 78% radiation to the surrounding area in the summer. On a 32 degree day there with no street tree the surrounding road would be 77 degrees, surrounding light coloured concrete footpath and driveways would be 62 degrees. A seventeeen degree difference in temperature has been recorded by CSIRO in an urban heat map study done in Canberra between one side of a street with street trees versus the opposite side without street trees.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 4:55 pm 07 Sep 20

    Alice Paris Yes, I was wondering what happened to the tree, that I would expect to see there. A deciduous tree is preferable in suburbia, because it lets the sun through in winter and shades (better than a eucalypt) in summer. (Large pines should not be in suburbia at all.)

    Alice Paris Alice Paris 5:13 pm 07 Sep 20

    Julie Macklin Hi Julie there is some great reserach available which demonstrates the superiority of local eucalypts as street trees. In a nutshell the local eucalypts have not only evolved a root system for our soils and climate but their canopies block more radiation then the exotic deciduous trees and importantly where the shape of the canopy of the local eucalypts allows them to release heat at night the shape of the exotic deciduous trees actually traps the heat at night preventing it from dissipating and this drives up the urban heat island effect. This is very important as heat is the dealiest natural hazard in Australia. Similarly in the winter time the local eucalypts will slow the wind and rain preventing heat from being sucked out of brick homes and provide protection during storms by absorbing energy from the wind, slowing it down and transfering that energy to the ground. I should also note that in a UTS study it was found that the dried leaves of exotic trees are a fire risk where as the leaves of eucalypts which have evolved here have a heavy wax coating which reduces their flammability.

Coitrina Mairi Coitrina Mairi 3:14 pm 07 Sep 20

We live in Canberra and got pinged as well, despite having a gravel area outside our house and being opposite a school

Gay McGuire Gay McGuire 2:02 pm 07 Sep 20

Parking on nature strips so many issues firstly unattractive, if it’s maintained nicely by the owner & if people see a car parked there so will everyone else!

Simon Mansfield Simon Mansfield 1:50 pm 07 Sep 20

If it's a soft gutter he should take it to court. As the whole point of soft gutters in residental streets is to allows safe and easy over kerb parking. Which from the pixs seems to be the case.

He should also file an official compliant with council's internal ethical standards officer against the divisional manager - who has obviously signed off on this policy of enhanced enforcement with the clear intent being revenue raising.

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