Council vote: locals cry foul over paid parking carve up
ANGER continues to simmer over the carve up of Byron Bay's paid parking revenue.
Byron Shire Council will seek to lock in at least 50% of paid parking parking revenue for the implementation of the towns Masterplan when it meets this Thursday.
But while councils motion will also seek to acknowledge the work of the Byron Bay Town Centre Master Plan Leadership Group, members of the local community and the Chair of the Leadership Group are calling for 100% of parking funds to be committed to the town itself.
Chair of the Leadership Group, Chris Hanley said he believed all the money from paid parking should be allocated to Byron Bay in line with commitments offered to Brunswick Heads and Bangalow in exchange for their backing of paid parking in those towns.
Mr Hanley has previously acknowledged that an agreement over the paid parking carve up was never voted on in council, but is pushing for the full commitment of parking funds to both the Masterplan process and the town's infrastructure.
"I think we should be getting all the goddam money and I don't understand why they (council) are having this conversation (about 50%)," said Mr Hanley.
"Bangalow I believe should have paid parking if the community wants it and they should get all of the money, Mullum and Brunswick should get the same if they decide to back it.
"Once a community decides to go with paid parking, and we did decide here in Byron to go with it, they should get all the money."
Local campaigner Paul McCarthy and past president and vice president of the Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce, Ed Ahern have long contended that in every discussion they ever had with council regarding the introduction of paid parking, since around 2004, the firm understanding has always been that 100% of the money from the metres would be spent in Byron Bay.
"My memory of discussion with council is that paid parking was to be introduced in all the shire's towns," said Mr Ahern.
"Paid parking is effectively a tax on business and if it wasn't all getting spent here in town then we didn't want it."
Mr Ahern said that when paid parking was introduced in Byron Bay most businesses took a hit with trade down by up to 25%.
"You can't steal that money away from businesses here in town and spend it somewhere else in the shire."