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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Greens finally buckle and agree to Bruns parking data

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Last Thursday’s Council meeting was again brutal and unrelenting, yet there were some positives, with items being voted upon including a Bruns traffic assessment, a 5G summit (which will see government regulators and experts invited), and the adoption of Council’s operational plan.

Mayor cops flak

During morning access the mayor again copped a huge amount of flak from Brunswick Heads residents and business owners, with locals wearing a uniform of red in an effort to lobby for more data around parking plans.

5G protesters were also present.

Brunswick Heads residents and councillor Paul Spooner during an anti paid parking protest. Image: Jeff Dawson.

Byron local Paul McCarthy kicked off the offence against pro-pay-parking councillors, and he outlined a brief history with Byron. 

He concluded that there was a promise that all pay-parking revenue would go to Byron; it didn’t, Byron has ended up with about half.   

McCarthy then warned the Bruns business people and locals in the room not to trust Council on any promises of pay-parking contributions to their town, as it hadn’t occurred in Byron.

Next, Bruns local Michelle Begg said she supported the staff recommendation for more data and then referred to the mayor’s blog from November 2017, called the Mayor’s Eye View. In it, she claims the mayor called for a data-driven debate around Bruns parking. 

This is at odds with the mayor’s attempt at last month’s meeting to ram through pay parking at the last minute without any supporting evidence. 

Begg also asked why the mayor said on BayFM he might try to force pay parking on the town. 

Following that, Kim Rosen, representing the chamber of commerce, told the pro-pay-parking councillors, ‘Please don’t tell us pay parking will be good for us.’ 

She then directed her comments at the mayor, and said, ‘You don’t know. You’re not a businessman, with all respect’.

‘We don’t know how many day trippers come here; we need the data. Don’t tell us it will make us lots of money… We don’t trust you anyway… Don’t force your personal views on our village. Please respect the town and the electorate’.

The mayor, who appeared very irritated by the comments, then retaliated briskly with a claim that Rosen had agreed with staff to parking changes in Torakina. 

She said yes, in principle, but such changes needed to be discussed with all concerned stakeholders. 

Later, when the vote was taken, the mayor’s successful motion (Cr Cameron voted against) will see an expanded Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) survey undertaken, and an ‘Economic Assessment of Brunswick Heads to understand the existing economic conditions, where visitors come from and how many visitors are tourists versus locals.’ 

Increasing compliance monitoring will also be investigated, including paid parking. Rosen later told The Echo ‘We are gravely concerned that paid parking in our CBD will hurt our businesses and result in job losses.’

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  1. It is crucial for data to be gathered regarding the effects of paid parking on small businesses in Byron – locally owned not those which are supported by parent corporations elsewhere.
    The only way paid parking will be effective in targeting visitor traffic and the income benefit local residents is if it is established universally throughout the shire and local residents are given the benefit of discounts for local resident status backed by vehicle / driver’s ID and pension and senior status. You used to be able to take your rego to council and get a sticker for your vehicle indicating local residency. This could be applied as number plate recognition.


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