Lismore councillors have baulked at a plan to introduce parking meters in a Lismore CBD car park.
During a debate last week to review Lismore City Council’s six-year-old CBD parking strategy, councillors voted to conduct public consultation in April next year on a plan to install parking meters in the Kirkland Riviera car park.
They also decided to revert, within seven days, parking time restrictions to what they were as at June 30.
Cr Greg Bennett successfully moved two notices of motion bringing this about relating to CBD car parking: the first is to not install parking meters within the Kirkland Riviera car park and to hold a public consultation/forum around April next year to help council’s review of its 2007 CBD parking strategy.
Lismore real estate agent Andrew Gordon told council that ‘something simple is becoming very complicated’ with the installation and ‘subsequent removal of parking meters’.
Mr Gordon, president of the Ratepayers Association of Lismore and a member of the Lismore Chamber of Commerce said ‘and now an expensive consultation that we already know what the public wants’.
Cr Vanessa Ekins said a 2007 survey showed ‘that many car parking spaces where taken by staff and not customers’, but Mr Gordon said he ‘found that hard to believe’.
Cr Bennett said it was time to revisit the 2007 CBD parking strategy as there had been a lot of changes since then, including a 3,000 signature petition from the community opposed to paid parking.
‘The two-hour centre parking has gone back to one hour and I have received a lot of negative feedback about that, people want two hour parking back,’ Cr Bennett said.
‘An electronic enforcement vehicle has also been introduced since our strategy, so not only do we have less parking time but it is also more rigorously enforced,’ he said.
Cr Glenys Ritchie said a position on parking meters should not be taken before a public consultation.
‘My issue is the stand on no paid parking meters pre-empts the public consultation,’ said Cr Ritchie. ‘This would mean that if all the stakeholders said they wanted metered parking at Kirkland Riviera then we would not be letting them make that decision.’
Cr Ritchie admitted that as an employee she had parked regularly over time in the CBD car parks.
‘Employees are an issue so we need to discuss this and it may be that a $4 all day park might be suitable for employees,’ said Cr Ritchie.
Cr Neil Marks questioned why parking needs to be so complex and suggested that council can conduct an affordable review as ‘we live here and talk to people.’
‘We need to make parking simple and useful,’ Cr Marks said.
He compared the parking fines of Lismore to those in capital cities and believes it affects the reputation of the CBD.
‘$101 for being over your limit in Lismore is very expensive,’ Cr Marks said.
‘I received a parking fine in a high tourist parking spot in South Australia for around $60,’ he said.
Cr Ekins said that the ‘thrust of Cr Bennett’s first notice of motion is to not have parking meters installed, as there is already a resolution to hold a consultation.’
Cr Ekins said fines were deterrents and can make people park appropriately.
Cr Bennett said the second notice of motion would revert parking back to two hours in the CBD.
‘The last two changes were Woodlark Street and a small part of Magellan Street, what I am seeking to do is revert those sections back to two hours,’ he said.
‘This is only until we do the workshop, it will help the CBD leading up to Christmas,’ he said.