Byron Mayor, Cr Jan Barham, has promised there will be no moves to extend paid parking at Byron Bay before Christmas. Cr Barham said while the council would be exploring "all the options", no decision had been made on the future of paid parking in the town. "There won't be anything done until next year," she said. We are gathering information about what is possible. The majority of councillors seem to want to have paid parking continue." The introduction of a paid parking trial on December 1 last year involving a coupon system and ticket machines, provoked an angry response from the Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce. Opposed to any form of paid parking, the chamber said the trial had an immediate and detrimental impact on businesses in the town. In May this year, the council put an end to the coupon parking trial, but voted to continue the ticket machine paid parking at Main Beach and the two nearby council parking areas. Late last month councillors and council staff held a workshop on the issue with discussion also on the related matter of residents' stickers. The workshop agreed to call for a report on the possible introduction of paid parking at Wategos Beach, Clarkes Beach car park, the full length of Bay Street, Middleton Street, Lawson Street to Massinger Street and Captain Cook Lookout. A further workshop for councillors on the issue is due to be held in the next two weeks and a workshop involving all interested parties is expected to be held in late October. Cr Barham said if the council eventually resolved to extend paid parking, it would be done in February or March in time for next Easter. In a submission to last month's workshop, the chamber of commerce called on councillors to vote against any form of paid parking. Chamber treasurer, Tim Tetley said paid parking was bad for business and bad for the town. "The council really has to listen to people other than those who sell parking meters," he said. "It has to listen to people who are being affected by parking meters and the damage done to this community."
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