Bangalow is the next town chosen by Byron Shire Council to have paid parking and it has appointed a company that installs car parking systems to sell its plan to the town’s residents.
The website of Traffic and Parking Systems Group (TPS) describes it as, ‘an Australian based company that specialises in car parking systems, access control products, security, CCTV & Retail Counting Systems.’
Council’s Parking Review Engagement Plan nowhere mentions the option of not installing parking meters; it appears to be a document about ameliorating residents’ negative feedback.
The ‘engagement plan’ outlines a range of methods of informing the community about the introduction of pay parking, including newspaper and radio advertising, a stall at the weekly Farmers’ Markets and a letterbox drop.
Among the ‘challenges’ the plan’s authors expect to encounter are a ‘general reluctance to support the introduction of pay parking’ and a ‘request to delay the changes until after the Bangalow Masterplan has been completed.’
The plan then outlines a range of ‘messages’ to sell it to the community.
One of the sweeteners it appears to offer is that, ‘the pay parking scheme is expected to generate an estimated $700,000 net income to Council each year,’ which it says ‘would assist with infrastructure maintenance and improvement in Bangalow town centre’.
But it admits this funding could also be used ‘elsewhere in the shire.’
The rollout of the sales pitch will begin later this month.
But the community has already got wind of the plan, with both the Chamber of Commerce and the Progress Association implacably opposed to pay parking in the town.
Chamber of Commerce president Jo Millar told Echonetdaily it was ‘completely inappropriate’ for council to consider pay parking ‘before completing the Bangalow Masterplan and a Traffic Plan’.
‘It’s putting the cart before the horse,’ Ms Millar said.
‘The Masterplan is an overview of how the village is going to develop and obviously crucial to that Masterplan is the sort of infrastructure we’re talking about: traffic flow and parking.
‘To have parking looked at in isolation is shortsighted and potentially leads to another problem that might need fixing down the track. It just doesn’t make sense,’ she said.
Ms Millar said she had been receiving ‘a lot of calls from community people who aren’t involved in the chamber who are very concerned about Bangalow being given parking meters without a process of community involvement.’
She added that she wasn’t swayed by seeing the some of the proceeds from a paid parking scheme flow into Bangalow.
A Byron Shire Council spokesperson said that TPS, the company chosen to complete the engagement plan, was not the same company council used to supply the parking meters in Byron Bay.
‘There has been no decision to install – we will be consulting first and are currently locking in the times and places for that,’ she said.