The annual Grandparents’ Day Concert, held by the Manasis School of Greek Dance and Culture at the Kingston City Hall, was spoiled after many elderly were issued with parking fines in an area that was recently made a permit zone by the Kingston City Council. Dimosthenis Manasis, the director of the dance group and organiser of this annual event has been advised by the council that each individual person needs to appeal their fine. His concern is that many of the people who were fined are elderly members of our community who have English as a second language and may come across communication barriers.

The dance group has been holding the event at the hall for nearly five years in a row now and members of the dance group and their families have always parked their cars underneath the town hall without an issue.

However, the council has recently changed the carpark and turned it into a permit zone. Mr Manasis – who says he supports the council’s rights to zone parking areas accordingly – tells Neos Kosmos that his event was only told hours before the production that the car park had become a permit zone. He says in the months of preparation for the event and dealing with the council, no one advised him of the change, and if they had, he would have taken the necessary steps to ensure that every car was issued with a permit.

“It’s not fair that the council is raising revenue at my expense,” says Mr Manasis.

“It’s the principle, not the money – we weren’t notified well in advance and we didn’t have time to prepare, we would have had a system in place.”

He says he has asked the council for a full retraction on the fines received by people who parked in the underground park between the hours of 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm at last week’s event. Any fines incurred by people who attended the event that parked elsewhere in the area he says he can’t help with.

However the council is still adamant that everyone has to appeal their fine individually.

“Local laws said everyone has to appeal, there is no way they can just scrap it as it has to go through an auditory process dictated by the Department of Justice,” Mr Manasis was advised.

“If there is a language barrier, they will have to find someone to help them write an appeal, and if the permit was not issued to them and they got booked in parking in the permit zone, then they may be able to get it dismissed.

“And anyone issued with a permit who didn’t display the permit will have to explain why as many could have done it because of an honest mistake.”
Mr Manasis said the council has been very cooperative and was “quite pleasant, supportive and understanding” of this issue.