Show me the money
WITH Brunswick Heads and Bangalow holding off the imposition of paid parking so far, long time Byron Bay anti-paid parking campaigner Paul McCarthy is asking for Byron Council to "show him the money" when it comes to the revenue raised from paid parking in Byron.
"We all went with the idea of paid parking because we believed we were staving of forced amalgamation and we needed to be Fit for the Future," Mr McCarthy said.
"I believe the community went along with it because we understood all the money collected would be spent here in town on our crumbling infrastructure.
"But figures I managed to source from council indicate this is not the case and of the $3.5million collected in 2016-17 only around $500,000 gets spent directly here in the Bay and that was not the deal we signed up for."
Mr McCarthy sat down this week with Byron Councillor Paul Spooner and by their reckoning of the $3.5million collected roughly $1million goes in running costs and $500,000 is raised in parking exemptions for locals.
Cr Spooner plans to raise the matter at the next meeting of Byron Shire Council on Thursday, February 1.
"I think we need some clarity and certainty around where council is spending the paid parking money raised in Byron Bay," Cr Spooner said.
Byron Council's Director of Infrastructure Services Phil Holloway confirmed paid parking was introduced in Byron Bay as part of the Fit for the Future response and as a way of recouping money for Byron from visitors as the shire was, "significantly affected by tourists."
"Part of the trade off (for its introduction) was the modification of the charges and time limits and the introduction of the exemptions for locals," he said.
He said at the time of the introduction discussions within council had taken place with the understanding that 50% of the revenue would be spent in Byron with other money spent across the rest of the shire as the, "affects of tourism in Byron are spread across the rest of the shire."