A long-time opponent of paid parking claims that Byron Shire Council’s latest decision to allocate at least 50 per cent of paid parking revenue from Byron Bay to projects in the town doesn’t go far enough.
Paul McCarthy says the issue is ‘driving a wedge’ into the shire.
‘I don’t want Byron Bay to be the cash cow for the entire area,’ he said.
‘We are the coalface to around two million annual visitors. It’s not too late to turn this around and allocate all funds to Byron Bay.’
Mr McCarthy points to the council’s 2017–18 YTD Ordinary Rate Levies per locality, which indicates that 38.8 per cent of the Shire’s rates come from Byron Bay, while 10.2 per cent comes from Suffolk Park. The total figures include residential, business and farmland.
By comparison, Bangalow landowners contribute 5.4 per cent, Brunswick Heads 5.2 per cent, Mullumbimby 7.1 per cent and Ocean Shores 8.7 per cent.
While accepting that Byron’s masterplan will significantly improve the town, McCarthy maintains that everyone should be treated equally.
‘Byron Bay should have had the same offer made to them as Brunswick Heads and Bangalow – that promise was to allocate 100 per cent of the revenue for those towns.’
Bangalow chamber of commerce president Jo Millar confirmed with The Echo that an offer was made by the council for all Bangalow revenue to be spent in the town, as was the case for Brunswick Heads.
She said, ‘I have concerns that paid parking could be used to set the towns against each other,’ adding that there is ‘great respect and recognition between us all.’
‘I also support Byron Bay receiving all the revenue from their parking meters,’ she said, adding that there’s ‘no question that most visitors come to Byron Bay,’ and as a result Byron’s infrastructure is affected.
According to a recent Byron News report, mayor Simon Richardson was not in favour of giving Byron Bay all of its paid parking revenue, as it would lead to ‘parochialism’.