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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Bangalow paid parking ‘splitting community in two’

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Parking meters are soon to be installed in Byron Street, Bangalow. File photo
Parking meters are soon to be installed in Byron Street, Bangalow. File photo

Chris Dobney

Just weeks before paid parking is due to take effect in Bangalow, the local Labor Party branch has called on Byron Shire Council to extend paid parking exemption permits to residents in surrounding areas.

And a member of the town’s progress association has accused the council of ‘failing its due diligence’ with relation to the planned implementation.

Despite widespread resident and business opposition, paid parking is set commence in Bangalow on January 1, 2018.

Unlike Byron Bay, the town is on the edge of the shire and Labor says the move will unfairly impact on residents of nearby villages, such as Newrybar and Clunes, which are in other LGAs.

Byron Labor Secretary Asren Pugh said council was determined to push ahead with paid parking in Bangalow.

‘If it does go ahead it is essential that the option to buy a parking permit is extended to people who are part of the Bangalow community, like Clunes and Newrybar,’ Mr Pugh said.

‘Lots of the children that go to Bangalow Public School, or the Community Childrens Centre live just over the border in Ballina or Lismore LGAs. It will split the community in two if we restrict their ability to park in town to pick up their kids or do a bit of local shopping.

‘We are calling on council to extend the ability to purchase parking permits to at least all of the 2479 postcode and to the villages that abut the shire, such as Clunes.

‘Council should take a generous approach to this issue and err on the side of letting people buy permits rather than not.

‘This is urgent and needs to be done before the beginning of any new paid parking regime.

‘If this is about getting money from tourists for infrastructure, then make sure it is targeting tourists and not splitting our community in two,’ Mr Pugh said.

Due diligence failure

Meanwhile Bangalow Progress Association member Jenny Bird has accused Byron Shire Council of failing in its ‘due diligence’ regarding its plans for paid parking in the town.

In a letter to The Echo Ms Bird accused the council of relying on parking survey data that related to one single day, ‘a Saturday with a large festival happening in the Showground.’

She also said the council’s own community consultation process resulted in a movement strategy report that raised concerns about paid parking and added that a survey on paid parking conducted by council staff was ‘statistically invalid’.

Ms Bird said the situation in Byron Bay was very different to Bangalow, where most visitors were ‘day trippers’.

‘Day trippers come to Bangalow for a leisurely shop, coffee and lunch and are therefore unlikely to park in a one-hour, or even two-hour, parking zone. If the council wants to use paid parking as a de facto tourist tax then the logic just doesn’t work with this plan,’ she said.

‘The claims and promises made in the media by the general manager about likely revenue for Bangalow are intemperate given the lack of robust data about parking behaviour, tourist numbers and behaviour in Bangalow.

‘Council resolved on August 24, 2017, to undertake a one-year pilot. There should be no talk or promises about revenue until revenue data from the pilot is available.

‘At the August council meeting, the council also resolved to enter into discussion with the Bangalow Guidance Group before the implementation date on January 1, 2018. This, quite simply, has not happened.

‘Good governance requires both good data and real community engagement in order for informed decisions to be made. Something has gone horribly wrong with the process of investigating the feasibility of paid parking in Bangalow. It has all the hallmarks of a fait accompli,’ Ms Bird said.

 

 


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7 COMMENTS

  1. A perfect example of Politicians who contemptuously ignore the viewpoints and wishes of the very people who elected them . The only proven recourse is the ballot box .

  2. Ridiculous!!!! You don’t even pay for parking in Tweed Heads / Coolangatta main streets!! How many people will now cross Bangalow off the list of places to visit? How many other villages the size of Bangers are there in Australia with paid parking, I wonder?

  3. In the Melbourne suburb of Yarraville, people boycotted the metered parking successfully When the shopkeepers complained to the council about the absence of customers, the paid parking was removed.

  4. Saying opinions are split is to insinuate just as many people want it as dont want it. This is not the case. We know this from the resistance in Brunswick Heads it is about 95% against paid parking. Simon Richardson is forging ahead against all recommendations and community wishes to push his agenda for privatising our public parking spaces. The small villages face ruin if it happens. Best of luck Bangalow.

    • I think they mean the community will be split by the parking , as people on the outskirts will prefer Lismore & Ballina ,not that the viewpoints are split .

  5. I have only seen outcry over this, I haven’t seen any letters to editors or comments posted on articles such as this one in support of PP. So where is the other half of the community that is being split in two as the byline suggests?

    That aside, day trippers come to Bangalow to experience a small federation village in all its charm. Parking meters are for cities, congested urban areas and maybe (maybe) for over used areas like Byron Bay. They are not for Bangalow as they turn it into the place that people have left behind to visit us here in this quaint country town.

  6. I will certainly cross Bangalow off my list if parking meters are installed. I’m a Pottsville resident and enjoy life in the Northern Riviera after living in Sydney but avoid places like Byron Bay with metered parking.

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