A NEW high-tech camera to catch illegal parkers has met with a mixed response from drivers - but Ipswich City Council says its new approach is the right one.
As the QT reported on Saturday, the council has introduced automated number plate recognition technology to identify vehicles parked illegally, especially on footpaths.
Steven Brown, of Eastern Heights, contacted the QT after he was fined $50 for parking on a footpath in Bannerman St, Riverview.
"I was dropping in to check in and say hi to my grandmother," Mr Brown said.
"This is bureaucracy gone mad. I was only there for a maximum half an hour and I wasn't on the footpath interfering with anyone's way."
Rural councillor David Pahlke said the system unfairly treated country people and there wasn't enough warning about them.
He said people in rural towns were booked for parking on footpaths even though they weren't obstructing people walking past.
"Country is different to city," Cr Pahlke said. "And I would have much preferred a public awareness campaign well before any revenue-raising exercise.
"Some of the examples I have seen should not have been booked. It seems it's being taken too far."
Cr Andrew Antoniolli, who is responsible for introducing the camera system, denied there was any bias against country people.
"The urban areas of Division 10 are no different to the urban areas of any other part of the city and the laws of car parking is consistently and fairly applied right across the city," he said.
He said the reaction to the new camera was more positive than negative and there was an increasing number of complaints about people parking on footpaths.
"We are all taught from a very early age that roads are for cars and footpaths are for people," he said.
"The number of complaints about people parking on footpaths has increased quite dramatically.
"We are not getting a lot of complaints from people about the way we are addressing the problem; the only people who seem to be complaining are those who got tickets. Safety is not just pedestrian safety; it also relates to obstruction of people's view entering traffic."
Cr Cheryl Bromage agreed it was a matter of public safety.
"People are parking on footpaths and other people are being forced to walk on the road," Cr Bromage said.
"If people feel they've been dealt with unjustly they can take it up with council."
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said he was in discussions with fellow councillors about ways the public could be educated more about parking laws when they obtain their driver's licence.
Cr Pisasale said he had paid the fines of people who he believed had been unfairly booked and stressed that the introduction of the new ANPR vehicle was "not a revenue raising exercise".
"In actual fact we are giving out less tickets now than we did five or six years ago," he said.
"What is paramount is the safety of our kids. If a kid on a bike has to go out on the road and gets injured because someone was illegally parked then people are going to say to council, 'What the hell are you doing?'