Northern Beaches Council hopes to introduce a digital parking permit to thwart a lucrative black market in resale and an influx of campers.
The resale of current printed permits through online sites sees permits sell for as much as $500 and has turned residential streets into camp sites.
The demographic for the permits or golden tickets are backpackers and road trippers living a camping lifestyle in vehicles.
Since the amalgamation of Sydney’s Northern Beaches Council in 2016, residents of the peninsula area have been equipped with flexible, all-day parking permits.
The permits appear for resale on sites such as Gumtree and council is looking at ways of eliminating the practice.
Council’s Acting General Manager of Environment & Infrastructure Craig Sawyer said, “[Northern Beaches] Council is exploring a transition to a digital parking pass system where the number plate of the vehicle will be recorded virtually, thus making it impossible to sell online.”
Ratepayers are also fed up with vans rented through home-sharing sites with residents using their own parking permits, clogging the streets and cluttering up the beachfront.
Manly resident Lisa Trueman said the problem was becoming entrenched.
“There was a campervan that was parked across the road for quite some time not too long ago, and they were there for so long that they even put fairy lights up in the tree to improve the atmosphere for them," she said.
“They park for several months at a time and it can be very uncomfortable with them living so close to home… I do have safety concerns,” Ms Trueman said.
James Meredith from Manly Truck and Car Rentals said this form of camping was fairly common in the area and a target market for the rental company.
“We started to get people wanting to hire delivery vans for surf trips and it just grew into a market for travellers starting their journeys in Australia to explore the coast,” Mr Meredith said.
As for local residents, it is an ongoing bone of contention and complaints will continue until some developmental initiatives take place.
Parking permits are not provided by the rental company but for those requesting a “kitted out” camper van, Mr Meredith has noticed that people hiring the vehicles are somehow sourcing them.
“People sometimes leave permits in vans and panic because they’re expensive to replace or so difficult to obtain,” he said.
Residents hope changes to home sharing rules in NSW which has introduced a cap of 180 days for rentals through sites such as Airbnb will limit van rentals by locals.