Byron Bay was told that all money put into the parking meters would be spent in Byron Bay maintaining and improving the infrastructure of the town which is visited by over two million tourists every year. A large stress on existing amenities.
Oddly enough at present the same offer was made to Bangalow and Brunswick Heads with regards to paid meter parking money.
After the Byron Shire Echo article ‘Show us the Money’ regarding where the paid parking-meter money has been spent, we have researched where the money has been spent.
In 2016-2017 just parking-meter revenue only was $2.1 million and over 50 per cent had already been spent outside Byron Bay. How did this happen?
With the parking meter funds now spent, Byron shire mayor Simon Richardson then stated that council had decided to give Byron Bay a large chunk of the money generated: ‘at least more then half the revenue’ as quoted in The Byron News on 25 January 2018.
Councillor Paul Spooner then moved a motion on behalf of Byron Bay that Byron Bay receive 100 per cent of the parking meter money which the town of Byron Bay was promised, along with Bangalow and Brunswick Heads, if they went ahead with parking meters.
Council voted to give Byron Bay 50 per cent of the money. So much for a large chunk of money, more than half.
Cr Spooner then stated that Byron would get all the money from the parking meters on the Crown Reserve.
However, the law states that all money raised on the Crown Reserve must be spent where it is raised, no gift there.
Studies have shown that parking-meter money spent where it was raised gains greater respect from the community as they can see where their money has gone.
The Byron shire as a whole would still get approximately $1.6 million from parking fines and $530,000 from parking exemptions for use across the shire.
To create a level playing field for all Byron shire the answer is simple Simon: give Byron Bay what it was promised the same as was recently promised to Bangalow and Brunswick Heads.
All money from the parking meters must be quarantined and spent in the town where it was raised.
Let’s have a fair go for everyone and stop the discrimination against Byron Bay.
Paul McCarthy, Byron Bay