Discontent rumbled throughout a meeting held by Byron Bay’s chamber of commerce, Byron United, on Monday night over plans to introduce paid parking in the town.
Around 50 Byron Bay business owners gathered to hear the plans, announced by Byron Shire Council’s general manager Ken Gainger, with support from Crs Chris Cubis and Alan Hunter.
And it’s a tough wedge – pressure from the state government means that Council has to generate revenue to be ‘Fit For The Future,’ a regime which ‘demonstrates that [councils] are financially sound, operating efficiently and in a strong position to guide growth and deliver quality services into the future.’
Of the two options presented, paid parking is council’s preferred, with it potentially being rolled out across other towns. The other option was dramatically increasing rates to make up the $2.7m shortfall.
But it was parking provisions for business owners and workers that caused the most consternation.
The crowd was told there are plans and reports underway to turn Crown land on Butler Street, the current market site, into a permanent carpark. But the nominated fee of $80 per month was too much, some business operators said.
While Mr Gainger asked for further discussion with a roundtable of business operators, Cr Rose Wanchap made an impassioned speech, warning of empty shops if this were to go ahead.
Paid parking at a glance
Four dollars per hour is proposed as a universal rate (on and off street) and would apply to the CBD.
A residential parking scheme would complement paid parking around the CBD perimeter, with two vouchers available to households.
A $100 pa locals exemption for all shire residents would replace the existing $25 coupon, which would be based on registration numbers coded into parking machine technology.
A boom gate is even suggested for the beachfront carpark.