Parking rangers targets of abuse
BYRON Bay's parking rangers are copping verbal abuse, threats and intimidation on a daily basis, and are even being stalked by angry motorists.
"You are f***ing maggots", "Get a real job you f***ing scumbags", and "I hope you get cancer and die you f***ing bitch" are among the insults recently hurled at rangers from people in cars and during face-to-face confrontations.
In one of the most disturbing cases, a female parking officer working alone near the Byron markets last month was followed and harassed by a man after he saw her booking cars in a no parking zone.
"A male approached the ranger and asked her what she was doing," said Byron Shire Council's manager of governance Ralph James.
"He directed her to leave the area and turn a blind eye to vehicles in a no parking zone as it was market day."
When she told him she was just doing her job, the man insulted her and then followed and harassed her as she continued her work, Mr James said.
Mr James is becoming increasingly concerned at the lack of respect being shown to council employees.
"People obviously don't like getting a parking fine, but do these people do the same thing when they get a speeding fine from the police?" he said.
"If people tried that with the police, they'd end up in the dock."
Mr James said parking inspectors were about to head into one of the busiest times of the year when there was a huge demand for parking in Byron Bay.
He said the rangers helped to keep the traffic flowing and to free up scarce parking spots.
"The thing with Byron is, you need those parking spaces turned over, it's good for business," he said.
Mr James said while staff turnover among rangers was low, the abuse still took its toll.
"Yes, they get stressed," he said.
"They are out there doing their job.
"The parking restrictions have been imposed by the elected council - all the rangers are doing are enforcing it."
The council was prepared to take the abusers to the police, he said.
"If they get abused, rangers will take details and rego numbers and it will be reported to police, who have the power to demand the name of the driver at a particular time," he said.
Since January, Byron council rangers have issued more than 7600 parking tickets.
The majority of those (3885) were for parking longer than permitted or for parking without a current ticket displayed (1319).
The council issues about $1 million worth of parking fines each year.
MOST HATED JOBS
Jobs that appear regularly on 'most hated' lists:
- Parking inspectors
- Used car salesmen