Blue Mountains council introduces expensive parking: hiking trip

Bushwalks are beloved by many Aussies, but one iconic location just got more expensive, disappointing visitors.

Blue Mountains City Council has introduced a series of new parking restrictions at key sites.

The Citywide Parking Scheme and visitor pay Smart Parking was first announced in July this year and is now up and running, charging visitors for parking their cars.

The scheme has seen parking meters pop up across the Blue Mountans with new restricted parking locations all around.

Many visitors have been left disappointed with change, taking to social media to express their annoyance.

“So in the Blue Mountains, parking has become paid, not in national parks, but on city streets,” a woman shared on Facebook.

“The average price is $10 per hour. Plus the meter takes 0.78% for each transaction, you can’t stand for no more than three hours.”

“Enjoy your hikes!” she commented sarcastically.

Another person wrote: “Wow, BMCC (Blue Mountains City Council) insist on doing everything in their power to drive visitors away from all areas.”

“Parking meters?!?! No one will come to do any hikes, especially not the bigger round trips down to the valley below and up Empress Falls.”

“Or they’ll park at neighbouring streets clogging those areas for residents. ‘Well done.’” they wrote.

The parking fee starts at a rate of $2.50 for 15 minutes, with various time caps in place.

Parking at the Echo Point 2P will incur in a $20.57 parking fee for visitors, while the trail alone will take two to three hours to complete.

Some avid walkers are already planning their trips around the new parking fees, suggesting trails depending on “if you want to pay for the parking or not”.

Another person revealed the parking fee just made their Blue Mountains trip much more expensive.

“Coming from the north of Sydney I reckon it must cost me $40 return in tolls to get to the Blue Mountains,” they wrote.

With the newly introduced parking fees they will be paying a whopping $60 to visit the iconic mountain ranges.

Blue Mountains residents have been urged to apply for permits in order to avoid hefty fines and paying for parking.

Starting from this month rangers will be out and about in the area looking for vehicles that do not have a valid permit for free parking.

Vehicles that have exceeded the existing parking time limits and do not have a permit will first receive a warning before incurring a fine.

“Paid parking is being introduced to town centres, and key visitation sites, in the Blue Mountains Local Government Area so that visitors can contribute to the critical renewal of infrastructure, as well as the delivery of services and facilities,” Mayor of the Blue Mountains Cr Mark Greenhill said.

“This follows multiple natural disasters that have left a $400 million damage bill in our City.”

Over the last few years the Blue Mountains area has been obliterated with natural disasters including landslides, floods and bushfires.

Stage one of the Visitor Pay Parking has now commenced in existing time restricted parking locations in town/village centres at:

• Blackheath

• Katoomba

• Leura

• Lincolns Rock

• Wentworth Falls

Stage two of the final Parking Precincts Plan for visitor pay parking at key visitation sites at was endorsed by the Council in September:

• Cahill’s Lookout, Katoomba

• Raymond Road within the Echo Point Precinct

• Gordon Falls Leura

• Wentworth Falls Lake, Wentworth Falls

Stage three included:

• Blackheath Memorial Park, Blackheath

• Narrow Neck Lookout, Katoomba

• Katoomba Falls off-street parking areas, adjacent to Cliff View Lookout and Katoomba Cascades

• Sublime Point, Leura

• Wentworth Falls Lake, Wentworth Falls

• Knapsack Viaduct Carpark, Glenbrook.

Blue Mountains Council will be consulting with residents within these precincts regarding the rollout and to manage overflow parking concerns.

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