FIFTEEN minutes before the school bell rings, the car park is full and parents are frantically searching for a spot to pick up their children.
The parking at Blackwater North State School has become an issue for parents and the Central Highlands Regional Council because of safety concerns.
The issue of cars driving on the park reserves across from the school was brought to the council's attention earlier this year.
Bollards were put in place and now parents are fighting for a space in the mornings and afternoons.
Central Highlands Regional councillor Kev Cracknell said it was a serious concern that people were not following the rules by using the two-minute drop-off zone and designated crossings.
"Certainly the children's safety is first and foremost," Cr Cracknell said.
"It's not a quick fix, and we haven't put up the fence and then washed our hands clean of the problem.
"We had to put it in place because unregulated parking in a high traffic area was taking place.
"I know it's highly congested, but we can't have unregulated parking."
It's a joke having to get here at least 15 minutes before school finishes so you can pick up your kid.
Cr Cracknell said he had spoken with Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson to discuss what options were available.
"We have certainly contacted the State Government and expressed something must be done. I can see both sides of the argument," Cr Cracknell said.
Parents have voiced concern that the school has 500 students and only 32 car parking spaces.
"It's a joke having to get here at least 15 minutes before school finishes so you can pick up your kid," said a parent who wished to remain anonymous.
"I can't see what was wrong with what was happening before the fence was put up.
"Now you've got cars parked wherever they can get a spot, and kids are walking across the road. It's more dangerous now.
"You should see what it's like when it's raining ... no hope in hell."
Department of Education regional director Wayne Butler said the school principal had advised staff to use school parking to ensure maximum available parking outside the school grounds.
The council has asked the State Government to investigate car parking on state-controlled land.
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