CONTROVERSY: Paid parking meters - scourge or saviour?
CONTROVERSY: Paid parking meters - scourge or saviour? Warren Lynam

Paid parking on the cards for Northern Rivers village

BYRON Shire Council is considering rolling out paid parking in Bangalow to earn an estimated $700,000 a year towards its bottom line.

The council has confirmed it will conduct a community consultation over the issue in April.

Byron Shire Council infrastructure planning team leader Evan Elford said if introduced, paid parking would apply to one and two hour parking areas within the town centre.

The council is also considering increasing the number of one-hour parks after a survey found the average parking time was 54 minutes.

The proposed paid parking scheme would run exactly like the existing program in Byron Bay, and exemption e-permit holders would simply park and walk away - although time limits would still apply.

Existing pay parking exemption e-permit holders would not need to apply for an additional exemption.

The council says about 790 Bangalow residents already have a pay parking e-permit, of which 165 are pensioners.

Mr Elford said the introduction of pay parking would increase cash flow from visitors and "share the burden" of providing quality infrastructure across the full range of users, not just ratepayers.

"The Bangalow pay parking scheme is expected to generate an estimated $700,000 net income each year and would go towards infrastructure maintenance and improvement in the Bangalow town centre and elsewhere within the Shire," Mr Elford said.

"Pay parking revenue could be a very useful funding source for the many projects that are likely to emerge from the Bangalow Town Centre Masterplan.

"It's a significant revenue source and the majority would be coming from visitors and not locals.

"Getting more revenue from visitors was a key community request from (recent) consultation... and council would like to explore this further with residents through the proposed pay parking scheme for Bangalow."

Paid parking was originally implemented in Byron Bay in December 2015 and was estimated to add $2 million to the council's coffers to help maintain much-needed public infrastructure.

The council says "residents have reported that they are finding it easier to get a park due to turnover and parking dispersal".

Comments and suggestions from key stakeholder groups and community members in Bangalow will be collated, analysed and reported to the council.

The council is expecting a public report to be made available by mid-year.

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