Plaza parking becomes nightmare for business owners
THE simple task of parking at the Sunshine Plaza has been turned into a nightmare for a shop owner.
For the past four years Tamara Livingstone and her husband Clinton have been the proud owners of a store in the retail precinct.
However, mounting confusion surrounding the use of Mrs Livingstone's car as being personal or business-related has made life increasingly difficult.
Mrs Livingstone only works when needed at the store and often visits to drop off parts during social visits.
She said she was often at the Plaza shopping too.
During these visits she said she pulled into the customer parking rather than the off-site employee spaces.
It's an act that has sparked numerous fines.
Mrs Livingstone's car has even been towed when borrowed and parked in customer parking by her sister to do shopping at the centre.
She said she had also been confronted by parking inspectors about parking in customer parking when on her days off.
"I was in gym clothes and I wasn't even going to work," she said.
"But, my husband was with me who was going to work and because he was in uniform we weren't allowed to park there."
She said her car had no company markings, but had been listed as a company vehicle regardless of its use.
It was a frustrating situation for the shop owner, who had witnessed others exploiting customer parking.
After her husband spotted a parking inspector pull into customer parking the couple had reached breaking point.
"He (husband) wrote a note on his car and said 'this is customer parking and you're not allowed to park here'," she said.
"It's exactly what they do to us and I thought it was only fair."
The couple raised the parking issues with centre management but said a solution had not been found.
"We're just never getting anywhere and they just always want to pass the buck onto someone else," she said.
She said the situation had deteriorated to the point her sister's car was even receiving fines when she went shopping with her.
"It's harassment and there are so many employees in the centre who are in the same boat," she said.
"I even went to the extent of changing my number plates and the first time those plates were in the centre I got a fine."
It's not just the parking spaces that have her concerned, with recent incidents making her worried for her safety.
While using her sister's car to get to work, she returned to find the tyres slashed.
It's not the first time safety at the carpark has been raised, with a young worker recently assaulted and her arm broken.
Sunshine Plaza General Manager Michael Manwaring confirmed the incident to the Daily at the time and said "security and police attended the scene immediately".
He said security was 'on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week year-round'.
The Daily has contacted Sunshine Plaza management for comment.