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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Parking-meter revenue discrimination?

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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  

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  1. Like the mayor, I’m not convinced of the justice of allocating all of the PPM money to the Bay township and agree it could be seen as parochial. However I think the point is that it would be good if there was some consistency between what Council says it will do and what it actually does. Indeed it would be good if there was just some consistency in reasoning sometimes! As you point out Paul, if it’s good enough for Bangalow and Bruns it’s good enough for the gander.

  2. Do many/any of the two million visitors to the town of Byron Bay visit other villages, beaches and National Parks or use local shire roads and infrastructure? If the two million visitors did not impact the liveability of the entire shire resididents, then perhaps it is easy to accept the notion that the entire meter takings are kept in Byron Bay.
    I live in the hills but due to the excessive number of tourists in Byron, I find myself shopping in Mullumbimby and seaside swimming in Brunswick Heads. As Byron receives more tourist visitors are local shire residents impacting other towns?
    I think we need to consider growth and the greater impact of tourism in terms of the whole shire. Have you noticed Brunswick Heads gradually loosing the charm of simple pleasures or the cafe/expensive eaterie homogenisation of Bangalow? Out of towners will no doubt be aware of the heightened hazards in summertime tourist season driving, those crappy country roads (tracks) become busy heart thumping near death encounters.
    Paid parking revinue is likely to consist of local and visitor money. As a shire resident one can pay rates, not opt for a paid parking permit and end up paying for parking to visit the dentist or library in Byron. Perhaps council need to make parking permits free for all locals and introduce paid parking in all towns and villages?

    How do we share the impact of tourism, income generated from tourism supports many locals but there are also many locals who only see their local amenity being diminished.


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