Paid parking rejected by council

A BID to end the parking sticker system and force locals to fork out at the paid parking areas at Byron Bay has been rejected.

Byron Council last Thursday voted to reject a staff recommendation to make everyone pay to park to eliminate the 'heavy' administration costs involved.

If the recommendation had got up, according to Cr Ross Tucker, there would have been 'blood in the streets'.

Cr Tucker said when paid parking was introduced some years ago, the council had given an undertaking that locals would not have to pay.

He said he was not prepared to walk away from that undertaking, despite the fact that he had opposed the introduction of paid parking.

While there were councillors who spoke in favour of scrapping the locals sticker system, the final vote was a good result for residents, he said.

Mayor Cr Jan Barham said the council would be looking at ways of simplifying the system.

Cr Barham said the vote to maintain the status quo showed the council's commitment to provide locals with some small recognition of their ongoing contribution to the community.

A report to the council said the parking sticker system didn't encourage local residents to consider parking in 'fringe' areas and walking and it didn't encourage 'equitable' turnover of parking.

It said the sticker created more of a 'sense of entitlement' over other drivers.

Although the idea was to create goodwill by providing a benefit to locals, it was typically not achieved, the report said.

Council rangers had reported there had been many instances of people without stickers claiming they were locals who had sought to park without paying by leaving hand-written notes on the dashboard.

The result had been a high level of hostility and abuse from residents directed at rangers.

There had been a number of extreme cases where people had falsified documents to get a parking sticker.

The report said a user-pay system where everyone paid at the paid parking areas encouraged drivers to make 'conscious decisions' when parking.

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