Parishioners at St John Fisher Catholic Church want the City to ease off the parking pressure.      Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)
Parishioners at St John Fisher Catholic Church want the City to ease off the parking pressure. Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)

Lynnwood parishioners ‘praying’ for their parking

By SAKHILE NDLAZI Time of article published Feb 22, 2020

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Pretoria - Parishioners of St John Fisher Catholic Church in Lynnwood are up in arms after being barred from parking in the open circle opposite their church.

The church on The Hillside is home to more than 900 congregants, and on high days on the calendar, such as the build-up to Easter, church services are often full.

Members of the church are concerned about where everyone is to park safely if they may no longer use the open ground in the circle as they have done for years.

Recently, bollards were erected at the entrances to the area, limiting access to the circle to vehicles.

The church community, in a petition, addressed to the City of Tshwane, and with 18 pages of signatures, said they felt “let down” because they were not consulted on this decision.

The next day, they communicated with representatives of the City manager’s office to offer to work jointly toward a “mutually beneficial and sustainable solution”, but last Saturday the bollards were cemented in, suggesting they are there to stay.

In the petition, the congregants say: “We note that under Article 8 (6) of City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality By-Laws, Pertaining to Public Amenities, no person shall ‘erect or cause to be erected, any post, rail, fence, tent, screen, stand, swing, structure, building or construction of whatever nature, without prior written consent of the Municipality’”.

When they parked their cars on the side of the road where they could find space, they ran the risk of being towed away and having to pay to retrieve their vehicles.

They handed a petition with over 900 signatures to the City, and in it requested the removal of the bollards, to be replaced with a chain and lock system to enable the Parish representatives to open and close the area before and after church services.

Congregant Frank Duarte said he was fuming at the treatment from the City. He said the parish was being disadvantaged, because the only parking in the area, which is rapidly developing with new complexes, is in the circle.

“Because it usually overflows, people also park on the road. Some time back, some cars were towed by traffic police, even though none of the cars were encroaching on to the road. Those they couldn’t tow, they issued hefty fines to,” he said.

Ward councillor Siobhan Muller said the circle was a public park for residents’ use, and not a parking area. She said cars had driven across the park to such an extent that water pipes were being exposed. She said the church had no zoning permitting parking.

“They were referred by the City’s legal department to follow due process. We have engaged them (congregants) to find a workable solution for everyone, but we did not reach a consensus,” she said, claiming the idea of the chains was mooted, but the agreement to keep the area locked was not met.

City spokesperson Lindela Mashigo confirmed that the petition had been received and was being processed. The City would respond in due course.

“Be that as it may, no person or persons would be allowed to use or invade land that is privately or state- owned,” he said, adding everyone must abide by the law.

Pretoria News

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