Byron Shire councillors will vote this week on whether to introduce paid parking for Byron Bay’s town centre.
The proposed rate is $2 per hour on the street and $4 per hour in council car parks.
Staff have put the plan forward for Thursday’s meeting following recommendations of a recent parking study and community consultation on the move.
Council’s infrastructure services director Phil Holloway said the report to be considered includes a plan for exemption for locals in one option for 30 minutes free per day and another for a 40 per cent discount or free parking for locals in council off-street car parks.
Mr Holloway said this could mean discontinuing the resident coupon parking permit.
The Byron Bay Parking Study looked at improved ways to manage parking within the busy town centre, including increasing the number of short-term parking spaces and the introduction of paid parking that would encourage the turnover of car spaces.
‘A key priority is to ensure that we end up with a system that is easy for everyone to understand but still meets the needs of our community,’ Mr Holloway said.
‘While ideally most locals would prefer not to have to pay for parking, this is one of the only ways we can earn a few more dollars from the visitors who arrive every day.
‘Feedback from residents and the traffic study has told us that most locals are coming into town for about 30 minutes and there are not enough short-term parking spaces.
‘A new pay parking scheme will aim to accommodate this need and help ensure that highly sought after spaces in the centre of town, turn over.
‘The report to council aims to keep the discussion going and arrive at a scheme that is fair to the majority of locals,’ Mr Holloway said.
The report estimated that the pay parking scheme could return up to $2 million net each year from the third year onwards.
‘That’s a significant amount of money that could go towards town improvements and road upgrades and maintenance,’ he said.
‘Plus, would clearly support our shire’s financial sustainability and work in with the state governments Fit for the Future reforms and help fund outcomes from the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan.
‘Working forward, we will need to look at a section of Butler Street Reserve being developed as a safe car area for day parking which would help address the need for parking for workers. Crown Land support would be required for this to occur,’ he said.
Mr Holloway said it is also proposed to review the existing $25 a year resident coupon system and if retained, could see the yearly fee be increased to somewhere between $125 to $190.
‘Further discussion with councillors will be held in February to consider additional issues such as the existing parking coupon scheme, vehicle exemptions, changes to parking time limits and a resident permit parking scheme for people who live on the edge of the pay parking areas,’ he said.
Mr Holloway said if the scheme was to go ahead, the outcomes of the February workshop will be reported to council and the community, and if the recommendations are adopted, council would develop an expression of interest to source costs and technological capabilities of pay parking machines from suppliers.