The people’s paid parking resistance movement gathers in solidarity 

Russian men’s choir Dustyesky lifted spirits on a damp Saturday for the No Paid Parking Rally. Photo Jeff Dawson

Russian men’s choir Dustyesky lifted spirits on a damp Saturday for the No Paid Parking Rally. Photo Jeff Dawson

Despite the cold and rainy weather, round 300 Brunswick Heads residents and business owners rallied on Saturday to send a message to councillors they don’t want paid parking. 

It follows a 4,500-signature petition against paid parking, which was handed to Council on October 20.

Led by both the town’s chamber of commerce and progress association, protesters instead propose a combination of reducing time restrictions and stepping up enforcement, are the recommendations of Council’s commissioned traffic report.

Resident Vivienne Pearson said, ‘It was a sea of red, including caps that were handed out bearing slogans like “Hands off Bruns” and “No to Paid Parking”. Even visitors, who didn’t know about the rally, eagerly donned the caps and lent their ears and voices in support.

‘There were 11 speakers, including comedian Mandy Nolan and councillor Alan Hunter, along with local residents and business owners.’

‘Cr Hunter said, “The community in Brunswick is so much dependent on small businesses. There are no superstores here and we want it to stay that way. So I’m with you guys”.’

Ms Pearson said, ‘I have worked in marketing-related fields and I have worked in research. The telephone and online surveys are a key part of the council’s consultation and should belong firmly in the research camp. Sadly they aren’t. The survey more closely resembles a marketing exercise than true consultation.’

It’s a sentiment shared by Kim Rosen from the Brunswick Heads Visitor Centre and Chamber of Commerce. ‘The consultation process has been a farce,’ she says. ‘The survey showed significant bias, a concern which was confirmed by a statistician’.

Dismissive mayor

She added, ‘Every element of the consultation has resembled a marketing exercise rather than showing true openness to ideas and the mayor, Simon Richardson, has been dismissive of genuine concerns raised.’

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