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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Bruns visitors should pay their fair share

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In reply to various letters re the decision not to impose paid parking in Brunswick Heads, may I contribute a few thoughts.

In relation to the Kim Rosen case put to the councillors that some 6,000 persons have petitioned against paid parking in Brunswick Heads, it would be very interesting to know how many of this alleged 6,000 actually make a direct financial contribution to the maintenance of council infrastructure, ie roads, footpaths, etc, in Brunswick Heads. How many of the 6,000 are ratepayers?

Furthermore, does the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce not accept that its village is only a small part of is the Byron Shire? Does it not accept that it is Byron Bay in particular that is, and always will be, the initial ‘draw card’ destination for many of the tourists who visit this shire?

I have lived and worked in Byron Bay for 20+ years, and am quite comfortable with being required to contribute $50 per vehicle per year to be able to park in our township, particularly as this ensures that our many visitors are now also making a contribution, via paid parking, to the much needed repair and upkeep of our infrastructure.

Obviously Brunswick Heads people are more than happy for some Byron Shire (i.e. Byron Bay) ratepayers to carry the can for the entire shire when it comes to these financial issues. Bangalow and Brunswick businesses need to be careful here, as Byron ratepayers may choose to boycott, as I will, visiting their respective villages with friends visiting from interstate or overseas, as a result of your approach of letting Byron Bay ratepayers/residents doing all of the heavy lifting in relation to initiatives for raising funds for much needed council infrastructure repairs and maintenance.

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  1. I don’t know that these residents begrudge the $55 a year fee. They fear for the impact on business activity precisely because these places don’t have the same magnetic attraction as Byron Bay and there is less requirement to create parking availability through cost incentive.

    Unfortunately until the State Government comes good with allowing Council to regulate the rampant holiday let businesses, that get away with not paying commercial rates, and introduce other measures like a bed tax to spread the revenue load, paid parking remains the best, albeit blunt, instrument we have available.

  2. Inevitable that Brunswick will have paid parking. No bed tax, so collect money from the tourists and visitors through the parking meters.. The Brunswick Chamber of Commerce is objecting the most. They say that the tourists might turn around and head north. Noosa Council is investigating paid parking in Noosa Heads. Tourists from the capital cities are used to paying for parking.

  3. I just wish Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce would put as much fervour into protecting the public assets that draw tourists and Shire residents to this place. I would strongly suggest it is the jewels in the crown, its foreshore parklands, access to the river and beach that are the principal assets. Businesses depend on them as a ‘honey pot’ to bring in clients. The way in which Brunswick has been so strongly marketed by these vested interests has failed to think through its consequences, despite been warned, and now is ‘seeing red’ for those consequences and doesn’t want to pay. My personal position is that all residents of the Shire are deserving of a free parking permit and visitors pay. The reasoning behind this is that property owners pay already pay rates to build and upkeep infrastructure and if they are investors, then rentiers’ rents would have that cost factored into their weekly rent.

  4. I would just say that tourists do pay to visit our towns… they pay by staying in accommodation, paying by eating, paying by buying our local products.. in this way we have thriving businesses and jobs for locals… the popularity of our town was inevitable… we need to manage the outcome of this and to do it together.. paid parking is devisive but it just the tip of an iceberg.. having a strong vision of how we want our town to be is why it attacts certain visitors and certain types of businesses… this is why Byron Bay lost its way.. stay strong people.

    • I dint think you get the point, Cherie. Yes tourists do provide benefits to the local economy but none of those expenditures – on accommodation, meals, retail etc – add proportional income to the shire for the increased infrastructure needs, particularly the illegal holiday rental market that pays residential rates. The burden falls to your everyday permanent residents who have just had a huge rate hike or will likely face a huge rent hike. We have to find ways of addressing this situation.

    • Ratepayers have no choice but to pay ever increasing rates, 30% of which go to cleaning up after, and, providing/maintaining infrastructure for tourists.

      The focus on marketing Brunswick for tourism by business people under the guise of so-called ‘simple pleasures’ with little thought for the consequences, has backfired as stated above. I feel for people who have to work long hours just to pay huge rents and other overheads, one of the consequences of the constant marketing campaigns.

      Anyone who has visited the Sunshine Coast knows paid parking is the norm there.

  5. Cherie Heale has promoted, as would be expected, the business interests of the Chamber. Alas, with the strong, indeed unrelenting marketing of Brunswick Heads, what is lost is the residents’ position. Cherie hasn’t got the longitudinal history of the strong direction in which we wanted, what was a ‘village’ to head and how it was to be ‘managed’. Residents are not collateral damaged to change and indeed should not be treated as such. Paid parking is the consequence of the strong marketing that began with the Chamber. I would invite Cherie to describe and explain how the Chamber might ‘do it together’ to protect the public assets, previously described by me as the Jewels in the Crown.

  6. What almost all of the respondents here seem to missing is that the RMS own guidelines apparently state that paid parking should be used as a traffic/parking management tool rather than as a fund raising tool .
    Perhaps if the proponents of paid parking knew exactly how much of that $4 fee actually wound up in Council’s coffers then their enthusiasm would be somewhat tempered .
    I have heard that the company that runs the paid parking machines derives more fiscal gain than Council ,
    but others may be better qualified to elaborate on this aspect ?


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