Byron paid parking to fix 'third world' infrastructure
PAID parking in Byron Bay is a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, says a Byron Shire councillor.
On one hand the council needed money to upgrade "third world" infrastructure. On the other, it wanted to support local residents and businesses, said Di Woods.
"Drive around the streets and the infrastructure is like the third world," she said. "If we don't do (paid parking) where do we get the money from? The state government has said we can't do a bed tax."
Byron Shire Council has asked for a further report on a $4 an hour fee for on-street parking and in council-owned car parks, and an increase in the existing off-street parking residents' $25 per year coupon increased to $100 per year approved last month.
Once established paid parking has the potential to deliver $2 million per year back to community infrastructure, it has said.
Mayor Simon Richardson said the community needed more context as to why council has to consider paid parking.
"Currently, council and our community are struggling against the continued failure of the state government to support local governments," he said. "We are being asked to support more services with less funds.
"In our own backyard we've saved over half a million dollars a year on staffing cuts and using these savings in part to increase our road and infrastructure spending.
"But it's still not enough and we need to generate more income to improve infrastructure backlog.
"The proposed paid parking scheme is more equitable than a special rate levy."
Mr Richardson said money raised could be spent on increased road maintenance, parks, toilets and so on.
Paid parking is just another hot button issue in a shire that has recently seen outrage from some residents about the West Byron development and the Belongil rock wall.
Mrs Woods has struck out at ratepayers she says are spreading fear and misinformation.
"Some of what has been said is garbage, just ridiculous rubbish," she said.