Food outlets and other shops across the Shire will be able to use parking spots for outdoor dining and other business activities under a ‘parklets’ trial being conducted by Byron Council.
In a move designed to activate the region’s main streets and boost the local retail sector during COVID-19, eligible businesses will be allowed to use some nearby street parking spaces between 5pm and 11pm daily for the next 12 months.
The trial, passed unanimously at last week’s full Council meeting, will commence on November 30, and Council has agreed to waive the fees for businesses with a registered COVID Safe plan.
Cr Alan Hunter, who moved the motion at last Thursday’s meeting, said, ‘This is about supporting an activation plan, alongside the Mullum and Byron activation projects, where we make the main streets more pedestrian friendly, more liveable and more appealing’.
‘It’s not something that will be appropriate for every restaurant and business, but for some it will really work.
‘This is something we can do with minimal costs at the moment to help our restaurants serve the visitor and help the visitor by making more tables’.
Parklets typically extend out from the footpath to the width of the adjacent parking space, and involve two or three parking spaces being put together.
They typically feature small outdoor dining areas, but can also be used to display clothing, art or any other retail items.
A number of other nearby councils, including Port Macquarie, Lismore and Tweed, have implemented parklets in their areas, or are considering doing so.
Byron Council has not yet determined the fine details of the parklet strategy, including the question of whether or not a parklet will need to be cleared of all tables and chairs at the end of each night to facilitate parking the next morning.
There is also a question over the cost of any new signage required to inform drivers that a certain spot is a designated ‘parklet’.
‘Some councils are setting them up in situ,’ Council’s director of sustainable environment and economy, Shannon Burt, told the meeting.
‘In other cases it’s better to put them in as of 6pm’.
Council is currently developing an expression of interest process by which local businesses can apply to create a parklet close to their premises.