McCarthy urges changes to parking fee split up

CAMPAIGN: Paul McCarthy believes paid parking money raised in Byron Bay should stay in Byron Bay to be used both small and large infrastructure upkeep.
CAMPAIGN: Paul McCarthy believes paid parking money raised in Byron Bay should stay in Byron Bay to be used both small and large infrastructure upkeep. Christian Morrow

PAID parking is getting personal here in Byron Bay.

Local Paul McCarthy claims to speak on behalf of "fed up locals” on the issue of paid parking and is not giving up any time soon in his quest to ensure all Byron's paid parking money gets spent right here in town.

He is threatening to organise a petition and continues to lobby councillors including Paul Spooner and Jan Hackett.

Cr Spooner put up a motion that would have locked in a guarantee that all Byron's parking meter money got spent in town at last month's council meeting.

Mr McCarthy is scathing of councillors for last month's voting to lock in only 50 per cent of parking meter revenue for the town.

After the vote, Mayor Simon Richardson told BSN the 50 per cent, together with Byron's proportion of fines and money from exemptions, would see Byron getting closer to 65 per cent of parking revenue.

He also warned the push to claim all the money raised for Byron amounted to parochialism, saying the 2.1million visitors attracted to the Byron brand used infrastructure all over the shire, and other locales could rightly expect a share.

But Mr McCarthy isn't buying it.

He believes that over the years, not only were all the funds from parking meters promised to maintain Byron CBD infrastructure but "just from a natural justice point of view all that money should flow to Byron given the enormous burden the town shoulders hosting that 2.1million visitors that are loving our town to death each year”.

He believes Byron Bay already does the heavy lifting when it comes to contributing funds to the whole of the shire, citing figures from the council's 2017-18 Year to Date Ordinary Rate Levies showing 38.8 per cent of rates are raised in Byron Bay alone.

"In all my time in Byron, never has the town looked shabbier, never has the traffic been as bad and never have we had as many visitors, many of whom simply disrespect the place,” he said.

"Things like potholes, weed invested and filthy footpaths, the ugly storm water drain that blights Clarkes Beach need to be fixed and raising that extra money from paid parking is the ideal way to do that.”

Undercutting the whole debate about paid parking is the simple fact that, according to RMS guidelines, paid parking should not ever be used purely as a revenue raising mechanism, only as traffic management method.

This simple fact and proving the need for paid parking as a traffic management measure is what has allowed Brunswick Heads and Bangalow to so far avoid the imposition of paid parking. Both towns have won reprieves while new traffic and parking studies are undertaken.

Mr McCarthy urges council to "pull their heads out of the clouds and stop trying to save the world and concentrate on saving what's beneath their feet - our town of Byron Bay”.

Topics:  byron shire council paid parking bangalow paul mccarthy paul spooner

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