Byron parking rangers to go high-tech

Dodging a parking fine in the Byron Shire is going to get a little bit harder after Byron Council last week gave the go-ahead to buy a state-of-the-art, high-tech numberplate recognition system.

It means the days of council rangers walking the streets and chalking tyres – and car owners ducking out to see if tyres have been marked – will soon be over.

Instead, rangers will drive around in a car fitted with a computer and mounted camera which automatically takes photographs of cars – and numberplates – parked in timed parking areas and their GPS co-ordinates logged.

A drive around the same area at a later stage will reveal which cars have overstayed their welcome and they will cop a ticket.

The $49,950 system can monitor more than 1000 vehicles an hour and can be used in wet weather and at night.

Or put another way, the whole of the Byron Bay CBD including car parks – a rich vein of income for the council – can be covered in about 20 minutes.

A report to last week’s council meeting said the system cut out the need for rangers to continually walk around in adverse weather conditions, reducing potential Occupational Health and Safety risks.

It also said that with the availability of electronic evidence, there was a lesser threat of court challenges.

The report anticipated the new system would generate extra revenue and would pay for itself.

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