A fine mess for ailing gran
WHAT do you have to do to get out of a parking fine? Apparently having a heart attack and being on an oxygen machine in full view of the parking inspector is not enough in Byron Shire.
Rose Horsley, a 78-year-old woman from Forbes was visiting her family in Mullumbimby recently when she had a heart attack outside the Brunswick Heads Newsagency. Her grand-daughter Sarah Ward called the nearby medical centre who then called an ambulance. A doctor and an assistant from the medical centre rushed to the scene with oxygen and began treating Grandma Rose.
Rose's family meanwhile parked their car across the road in a disabled parking area. And that's when the generosity of the local community ran dry.
"The staff at the newsagency and the medical centre were fantastic," Rose's daughter Angela Ward said. "They sat her down, got her some water and were fanning her." But a Byron Shire Council ranger who was patrolling the area at the time failed to see the commotion outside the newsagent and started issuing a fine to the illegally parked car.
The owner of the newsagency, Natasha Dal Bon, saw what was happening and raced over to tell the parking inspector that the owners were involved in a medical emergency. His response was 'too late'. He said he had started issuing the $397 fine because there was no disabled sticker on the car.
According to Ms Ward, "he could have come over. It was all happening in full view of the car. I appreciate he was just doing his job but we were hoping there was a compassion button somewhere." Ms Ward has approached Byron Shire Council to see if there is a way the fine could be waived, but was told the only was to lodge an appeal with the Debt Recovery Office in Parramatta or challenge the matter in court. Byron mayor Jan Barham told The Northern Star yesterday the collection of penalties was a state responsibility, but that in these circumstances council has the power to waive the fine if a written request is made.