Plans to extend paid parking

WITH residents digesting the news they will have to pay for their residents’ parking stickers from July 1, Byron Council is planning to extend paid parking areas throughout the Byron Bay CBD.

It also is looking at introducing paid parking at Bangalow, Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads.

At Byron Bay, the council is looking at extending paid parking to all streets in the town centre, including Lawson St down to Massinger St at Clarks Beach.

All paid parking proposals are part of an overall traffic management strategy being looked at by the council and are the subject of a report before today’s strategic planning committee meeting.

There has been a mixed reaction to the Byron News’ revelation last week the council is going to charge Byron Shire residents for their locals’ parking coupons, which is part of the traffic management study.

The News was told the charge would be $20, but the report to today’s committee meeting recommends a $25 charge, with pensioners excluded.

Byron Bay Boardriders president Bryce Cameron described the charge as “a bit rich”, while Byron United vice-president Paul Waters said he didn’t think it was a “big deal” and couldn’t see it having any impact on Byron United members.

Byron Mayor Jan Barham said the council had to look at all of its operations, including the issuing of parking stickers, to see where it could raise extra revenue.

“It’s an area where we are a bit out of step with other councils who do charge,” she said.

While she conceded the move would be unpopular with residents, Cr Barham said each sticker cost about $28 to print and administer. With pensioners exempt from the charge, the council is budgeting for only 3000 of the existing 9000 sticker-holders to pay the fee.

Bryce Cameron said the cash-strapped council was obviously looking at ways to recoup some money.

“Residents have not had to pay for these stickers before and it seems that council is looking for money to get it out of the big, dark hole of debt it’s in,” he said. “While I personally will pay, I think it’s a bit rich to have to pay for parking in your own town. It’s really not acceptable.”

When told of the coupon fee, Jonson St businesswoman Kristene Keevers said “you’ve got to be joking”.

Paul Waters said he wasn’t fazed by the new charge, but he couldn’t speak for other Byron United members. He said the amount was “neither here nor there for most people”.

“We applaud Byron Council’s efforts to rein in some costs provided they give us what we pay for,” he said.

Mr Waters said Byron United wanted to see money spent on improving roads, public toilets and parks and gardens at Byron Bay and not “poured” into administration.

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