Funeral fines fury

Council issued 11 infringement notices. 138931_23

A number of mourners have been slapped with parking fines as high as $165 as they farewelled a much loved community member.

Over 200 people filled St Patricks Church in Pakenham on Monday 16 September but a lack of parking due to construction works meant some vehicles were forced to park on the nature strip of the Princes Highway Service Road.

It’s believed there was no obstruction to traffic using the service lane, with no vehicle blocking traffic.

Helen Boon was paying tribute to her mother-in-law Anna, a member of the Pakenham community for 55 years, when she was told that her family and friends were hit with the fines.

Ms Boon’s sister was fined at 11.56am. At this time, mourners had descended outside and were gathered around the hearse. She said it would be “impossible” for the ticketing officer to not have noticed the large funeral crowd.

“I’m really angry, I think this is so poor for a funeral, have a little bit of compassion, especially at a time like this,” Ms Boon said.

“We just feel really bad for the people trying to pay their respects and then this happens.

“There was nowhere to park, what are they supposed to do? Where are they supposed to park?”

Ms Boon’s sister received a fine of $165 whereas other attendees were hit with fines of $99.

John Henzen and his wife drove separately to the funeral and were both hit with the lesser fines.

“I was really annoyed, I’ve had run ins with the shire regarding our road, I get really annoyed they can’t manage things properly and then to do this, it’s just bureaucracy at its worst,” Mr Henzen said.

“I wasn’t parked dangerously, I wasn’t creating a danger to anyone and I wasn’t creating a nuisance to the traffic, everything was perfectly safe.”

Mr Henzen is hoping council will rescind all the fines issued at the funeral and look towards providing more alternatives on where to park in the future.

The Gazette was told by attendees that at least 30 vehicles received the fines but the shire has since confirmed 11 parking infringements were issued.

After reviewing the circumstances, council says it will be withdrawing the 11 infringements, with recipients set to be notified by mail.

Meanwhile, a funeral planned for another much-loved Pakenham personality, Ray Paynter, is scheduled to be held at the church next Monday 23 September, with concerns the shire could strike again.

St Patricks Church was contacted for comment.