OPINION: The new reality is paid parking
I APPLAUD Byron Shire Council for making a decision this week in regard to introducing paid parking in the CBD.
This is a decision that had to be made with full consideration of the circumstances that are in front of the council and while it has not been popular, unfortunately it is necessary.
Over the past five years and possibly longer, the discussions have been plenty as to how to get visitors to Byron to contribute to the cost of infrastructure upkeep.
The numbers show how many daytrippers (900,000 yearly) are coming, particularly since the Tugun Bypass opened. These are the visitors that are being targeted to contribute and paid parking is a logical option.
Understandably there are issues around the increased costs to locals and an impact on businesses that I hope council will review over time, however a change was needed.
Byron needs to adapt to the challenges all Local Government Areas now face, specifically the economic realities on how it can continue to provide the services that we all take for granted, whilst maintaining our own unique personality.
The amalgamation of councils is a very real threat; therefore decisions like this must be made if we are to maintain local representation and leadership.
The 14,000 rate payers cannot foot the bill to upkeep infrastructure.