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Byron Shire
January 26, 2022

Keep paid parking out of Brunswick Heads

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Amber Armstrong, Brunswick Heads.

I have a small antique and collectable shop called Vintage Interior Pieces in the central part of Brunswick Heads. I have also been a resident of Brunswick Heads for the last 10 years and have been a ratepayer of the Byron Shire for the last 18.

Myself and everyone that I have spoken to in this town, whether it be my customers new or old, family members and my partner (who also works in Brunswick Heads) all STRONGLY OPPOSE PAID PARKING!

It’s a thoughtless and insensitive proposal by Byron Shire Council, which clearly does not understand the detrimental impact paid parking would bring to this tiny country town/fishing village, which is a special place that brings so much happiness to so many residents and visitors.

The reasons why it is so special to people is that we are NOT BYRON BAY, NOT THE GOLD COAST, OR A LARGE COMMERCIALISED PLACE. We are a community that is relatively small, family friendly and focussed, and which encourages the simple pleasures motto that makes people come here to begin with. Paid parking would destroy this ethos and turn it into like all the other places that people are now avoiding!

All my customers are saying they are not going to Byron Bay anymore because they refuse to pay for parking. I have also spoken to businesses in Byron and they have said their trade is noticeably down and quite a few of their fellow shop owners have had to close their doors since paid parking was introduced and they are struggling to keep their shops open also.

We are a quarter the size of Byron Bay, so imagine how it would affect the trade here!

Paid parking is such an unimaginable and ridiculous concept on so many levels.

Just an ounce of common sense and consultation of our community would make you realise instantly that it would be the death of this small town.

It would transform Brunswick Heads back into what is was in the 70’s a ‘GHOST TOWN’.  Our businesses would suffer tremendously and the so-called whining of not having a car space would turn into the whine of there are no shops! Which is worse, Byron Council?

If paid parking were introduced, it would not pay dividends as expected, as all the residents that can get annual permits will be parking in those spots anyway, making the whole process completely pointless and defunct.

One of the council reps told me that there would be all day parking available on the outer rim. Have you considered the elderly, council? Quite a few of the cafe regulars are of an older demographic and have difficulty walking that far – especially in hot, muggy summers – so this should be a concern that council should take seriously also.

Pushing all the all day parking to the outer rim would cause chaos and congestion to the residents on that side and other areas; it would be a potential nightmare and cause safety issues also.

But to be honest I don’t think this will be an issue because if paid parking came in, no one would stop, they would just keep going, and who can blame them as a visit for an hour would cost $8.50 for a coffee? Why bother.

I was talking to the rep who supplies my stationery and he told me that he and his wife and two children used to visit Byron from Lismore six times a year and would spend about $100 on breakfast, then his kids would have a swim whilst his wife had a relaxing shop for a few hours and spend more money during this time. They now refuse to go because of the paid parking and the frustration and stress of having to move the car. He now prefers Brunswick Heads and was very upset that this might be introduced.

Brunswick Heads has a lot of fun events during the year than inject money into businesses and so many people have said to me that they wont attend these events now, if paid parking was a reality.

We need to implement the suggested proposal that the Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce has suggested.

The revenue saved by not setting the meters up should then be put into the employment of parking officers that actually have a daily presence and deter people from parking longer than the limit. The amount of money raised by this would surely impress the council particular if the monitoring of this procedure was done correctly.

There are other opportunities in certain areas outlined by the chamber’s proposal that could be designated two hour parking particularly near the Memorial Park on market days. Another proposed area would be just after the first bridge before the inlet beach: the rocks in this place could be pushed in further and substantial one-to-two hour parking spots could be created for visitors.

There are quite a few areas that could be created into more parking but it seems council have completely missed these and have again not properly investigated these far superior solutions to parking concerns.

The money that the council promises us from paid parking will not be seen by us because we would have closed our business anyway and moved on. Be careful what you promise council, especially when it’s completely untrue.

PLEASE DONT WRECK BRUNS!

Please consider the alternative proposal, it’s far better for all involved.


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