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Byron Shire
May 16, 2021

Call for parking restrictions after Mercato impact

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Paul Bibby

Byron Council looks set to re-introduce two-hour paid parking on a section of southern Jonson Street in a bid to address parking issues created by the Mercato shopping mall.

For over a year, businesses at and around 120 Jonson Street have suffered because the all-day and four-hour paid parking spaces outside their premises have been filled for long periods by locals working at or visiting Mercato.

Parking inside Mercato is expensive and there is no provisions for free parking for people who work there. ‘Because locals with a permit can park [on Jonsons St] free, people working at Mercato just park there all day,’ the owner of the Drifters and Dreamers clothing store, Verity Wilson, said.

‘For a small business like ours it has a really big impact. You need people to be able to park near the store and we basically haven’t had that from the moment Mercato opened.’

The parking spaces used to have a two-hour limit but this was quietly changed shortly before Mercato opened. After nearly a year of persistent but polite requests from Ms Wilson and other business owners, Council staff have now proposed to change 12 spaces along Jonson Street back two hours to assist the small-business owners.

The proposal was due to come before this Tuesday’s local traffic committee meeting.

‘If the all-day parking in front of 120 Jonson St is changed to 2P it is recommended changing all on street parking to 2P, extending from 120 Jonson Street through to and including the 2 x 4P spaces in front of Mercato,’ Council staff said in a report on the matter.

‘This amounts to 12 parking spaces being converted to 2P paid parking.’

Ms Wilson cautiously welcomed the move.

‘There has been a lot of effort to get it to this point – many phone calls and emails.’

‘I’m grateful that Council is now looking to take action.’

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  1. A good lesson here. Given Byron’s issues what if all DAs for this type of development were required to provide reasonable numbers of free parking spaces for lessees and their employees. This new parking restriction will push cinema patrons further and further out into side streets – not good for those with limited mobility. I’ll make sure I wear sensible shoes.

    Will the proposed 5 star hotel next door have sufficient on-site parking for all its planned activities? It’s my guess it’s use won’t be limited to accommodation so will it add to the problem? We can’t always control the impact our visitors will have on our strained infrastructure but it would be wise to be alert to managing the impacts of our developers.

  2. You introduce paid parking to address a council economic issue, to bring in more income, not as a parking issue.
    A parking issue is resolved with more parking spaces. Would people look at these issues intelligently and not as a stereotype discourse of the cash-strapped Greens in what they say.

    • Where will the extra parking go, Emily? The underground car park at Mercato was designed to compensate for the spaces lost from the old Woolies site. The problem is that the charge for an all-day park would, I imagine make, a big dent in a retail day’s wage. And, unless it’s been changed lately, the free 2 hours for cinema patrons isn’t sufficient for some films (unless u like to duck out mid film to move your car) with overstays paying the fee for the full time parked. Was none of this part of deliberations of the DA?

      This time I think Council simply listened to the reasonable concerns of the affected businesses.

  3. Mercato should revert back to first hour free parking. They shouldn’t have been allowed to change so much when people are spending money in the centre

  4. Same old crap wring as much money out of anything an anybody…i refuse to spend anything in town ever again its a perpetual ripp off ive. Been here 26 years


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