Wendy McMenamin is not pleased with her parking fine.
Wendy McMenamin is not pleased with her parking fine. Warren Lynam

'Honest mistake': Fine doubled while being contested

A WOMAN has been left asking where the empathy and compassion has gone after her parking fine was doubled while she was trying to contest it.

Diddillibah woman Wendy McMenamin admitted she's "accountable" for parking her "very long van with a towbar" in a long vehicle park on February 10, but she said she thought she was doing the right thing at the time.

The Maroochy Surf Lifesaving member had parked at Mooloolaba while she was volunteering at beach event which was just one of four major events on that day and came back to a $94 council fine on her windscreen.

"I parked in what I thought would be an okay spot and got a fine and thought 'gee that's not fair, I have a very long vehicle'.

"I had parked in the longer spot to leave parks for the families attending the event."

Soon after Mrs McMenamin had to travel overseas to visit a sick relative which pushed the memory of the fine far from her mind.

When she returned and realised she still hadn't paid, Mrs McMenamin wrote to the council in an attempt to have the fine reversed because she was parked in a legal park.

After she wrote to the council Mrs McMenamin rang the State Penalties Enforcement Registry on May 5 and was told the fine had not yet been deferred to them, despite her later finding out council had sent the fine to SPER the previous month.

Mrs McMenamin said it took the council until June 6 to respond to her and within days of rejecting her request, the fine had been increased to $170 through SPER.

She then attempted to ring council to pay the original fine plus an administration fee, but was told there was nothing they could do despite SPER advising her it could still be reversed.

"I got quite distressed because I don't have $170," she said.

"I was volunteering, I wasn't parking willy nilly.

"It never should have been referred to SPER while it was in doubt."

Mrs McMenamin said she was willing to cop the original fine, but questioned why council had passed the issue onto the State Government when a dispute about the fine was ongoing.

"It was an honest mistake," she said.

"Why can't I pay the original fine and be given the time to do that."

Sunshine Coast Council have been contacted for comment.