Paid parking futuresubject of forum

The future of residents' parking stickers will be one of the major discussion points at a Byron Council forum on paid parking on Friday week.

A discussion paper produced by the council said council staff were working with the Roads and Traffic Authority to develop a "best practice" policy that met RTA and NSW legislation requirements for resident parking stickers.

Staff are also investigating sticker technology that addresses North Coast climatic conditions and preventing fake tickets being made.

The forum follows a council workshop on the issue and a call for public submissions.

All those who made submissions will be invited to address the forum. And the council voted on Tuesday to open up the forum to all interested residents.

A venue for the forum is yet to be determined.

Councillors agreed at the workshop that the original area set aside for the coupon parking trial at Byron Bay be adopted for the basis for paid parking in the town.

As well, staff are assessing other areas where paid parking could be introduced.

Those areas include Middleton Street (between Bay and Lawson Streets), Lawson Street (between Middleton and Massinger Streets), Clarkes Beach carpark, Captain Cook Lookout and Marine Parade at Wategos Beach.

Options also are being investigated for long-term parking for workers in the town.

These include improving lighting and access to Butler Street Reserve, changing time limits on council car parks and providing business parking stickers for workers.

The results of a survey on the impact of the paid parking trial on Byron Bay businesses will be presented to next's week's forum.

Survey forms were given to about 300 CBD businesses by the Byron Business Group (BBG) which has joined forces with the Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce to form a united front on the issue.

Among other questions, business operators were asked in the survey if the parking trial had led to a downturn in business and if staff hours had been reduced.

The BBG and the chamber say they want to work with the council and to "explore middle ground" on the issue, but they will not accept paid parking in CBD streets.

Spokesman for BBG, Barry Wallace, said Byron Bay CBD businesses, which employed between 1200 and 1500 people, were not out to pick a fight with the council.

"We want to work with the council. We want to find common ground," he said.

"We don't want to have people losing their businesses, we don't want staff losing jobs and we don't want staff losing shifts."

Mr Wallace said business operators were aware that the Greens dominated council was under pressure and its performance "under the microscope" from the rest of Australia.

He said business operators recognised that the council wanted to work in pertnership with the community.

"This will be a test of that," he said.

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