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 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”.
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.