PARKING officers have headed out on the town late on a Saturday night – not to party, but to fine parishioners of a Templestowe church.
More than 2500 people flocked to the Greek Orthodox Church of St Haralambos for a midnight mass to celebrate Greek Orthodox Easter on Saturday, May 4.
Many worshippers, including Templestowe resident Angelina Alexandrou, returned to their cars to find Manningham Council officers had fined them for parking illegally.
Ms Alexandrou, who arrived at the service with her 20-month-old baby, brother and mother about 11.30pm, said she was shocked to find an $85 ticket under her windscreen wiper.
“There were thousands of people there; many other people were fined as they had no other choice (but) to park in the wrong spot,” Ms Alexandrou said.
“When it is a religious celebration at night, they are just targeting it to make money.”
Andrew Georgiou, the church’s parish president, said the church asked its congregation to park legally, but some people did not listen.
He said irate residents from neighbouring properties had left abusive phone messages about illegal parking, which had been an issue for many years.
“There are a couple of families who have never liked the church, they are always complaining,” Mr Georgiou said.
“They know (the service) only happens once a year, when people come to church for about 20 minutes.”
Manningham Council chief executive Joe Carbone said parking officers were rostered on during Greek Easter, a consistent move when receiving complaints.
“Officers are asked to report the vehicles that have an adverse impact on safety, the amenity and generally obstruct the flow of traffic,” Mr Carbone said.
“Given the volume of traffic, from all reports our efforts were conservative, in terms of recording breaches of the rules.”
Mr Georgiou said the church would investigate ways to provide more parking, possibly at Templestowe Park Primary School, for next year’s service.
compassioate parishioner POSTED AT 9:43 PM JUNE 05, 2013
I too got a parking fine that same night for parking my car on the nature strip for a total time of 20 minutes. I took along my baby and parents who can hardly walk. I have paid my fine. I can assure you that I did not compromise the safety of any resident or parishioner. Had I parked legally a kilometre away would have meant compromising the safety of my child and parents. Perhaps people have clever suggestions for future parking. You are innocent until proven guilty not the other way around. It is not as clear cut as ‘You break the law, you pay the fine.’ There were not many parking choices available. We did what we thought was best. It is obvious some people lack compassion and are too quick to make judgements!!
Churchgoerateaster POSTED AT 10:58 AM MAY 30, 2013
You break the law you pay the fine… Just because it is a church service it doesn’t mean that the safety of residents or parishioners should be compromised…