By Hans Lovejoy
Brunswisk Heads will not get paid parking right now, yet the slim Greens-led majority Councillors voted to lay the groundwork for it in the future.
A rowdy crowd wearing red assembled during morning public access and Kim Rosen from the chamber of commerce told councillors that they previously stopped the push because there was no report to support it.
‘Then the report was delayed and released in September,’ she said.
Like Bangalow, the chamber challenges the validity of the surveys and say that council ignored the traffic report’s recommendation not to implement paid parking.
‘We worked hard since a business downturn without Council help, she said. ‘We feel insulted which references Bruns to Byron,’ she said. ‘We are nothing like Byron.’
She claims a petition against paid parking had also reached more than 6,000.
Later in the day. two options were thrashed out – one was from Labor’s Paul Spooner, who sought to suspend preparing for paid parking in future. He asked for the ‘precautionary principle’ and said his motion would put the $100,000 earmarked for the project on hold so it can be looked at closer.
‘6,000 people need to be considered,’ he said. ‘We are being too idealogical if we don’t respond to the community.’
Cr Spooner then said he didn’t want paid parking to be crack cocaine for Council. Keeping with the drug metaphor, he said Council needs to be moderate with its desire for income, and likened that to drinking Stone and Wood ale.
The other option, which passed, was from Greens mayor Simon Richardson.
Speaking to his amendment, he said that he agreed with vast bulk of Cr Spooner’s position on paid parking but it wasn’t so black and white.
The mayor then began to cast doubt on the unity of the town’s opposition, claiming that the phone surveys were not overwhelming against the idea, and that people have told him to just get on with it.
Fellow Greens Cr Sarah Ndiaye told the gallery she supported paid parking in principle while Greens Cr Michael Lyon suggested that the real issue for small businesses in the shire is high rents and landlords.
Cr Alan Hunter said he wasn’t too concerned about residents, ‘I am more concerned about the businesses,’ he said.
The vote saw the staff recommendation passed, where Crs Richardson, Lyon, Ndiaye, Coorey and Martin voted for, while Crs Cameron, Spooner, Hackett and Hunter voted against.