High cost of parking
WOULD you fork out $4000 to help Ballina Shire Council pay for kerbs, gutters and formalised car parking in your street?
That's the situation facing ratepayers in Williams St at Lennox Head, who have been told the work will only be prioritised if they take on half of the costs.
Residents have been complaining for years about the lack of kerbing and guttering which, combined with confusing parking regulations near the restaurant Blackboard at the Beach, is creating problems and safety hazards.
Local resident Jim Andrews said the main issue was that the parking needed to be formalised.
"It's all over the place at themoment," he said.
"You've got signs up saying to park parallel, when common sense dictates that you go nose-in.
"There's nowhere for people to walk so they have to go down the middle of the road.
"It's not safe.
"We just want a simple solution that works."
Cr Sharon Cadwallader said it was a "retrograde" step to ask ratepayers and business owners to pay for council works.
"They already pay their rates, so why should they have to pay more? It's not right," she said.
"In these tough economic times we should be supporting small businesses like Blackboard.
"We need to do this work urgently," Cr Cadwallader said.
Blackboard at the Beach owner Ben Beesley agreed the parking should be formalised.
But he said they would refuse to pay for any kerbs or gutters.
"We've paid to the council what we've needed to pay; we've done our bit," he said.
"We are not opposed to putting in proper parking, but we don't want to lose any car spaces and we don't want to pay for it."
The total cost of kerbing, guttering and formalising the parking is about $8000, so residents would chip in $4000.
Nearby resident Dennis Carter said it was a "stupid decision".
"There is just no common sense here," he said.
"Does it mean that everyone in Lennox should help pay for it, or just the people in this street? All we want is for the work to be done so this is a safe area again."
The council's general manager, Paul Hickey, said the council had in the past brought forward items on the works program if contributions were received from private organisations or individuals.
"This additional funding helps to leverage the council's limited resources," he said.
"Examples of this include the council's dust sealing of public roads program for rural areas and also the provision of sewer infrastructure in certain areas in the shire that previously only had access to on-site septic systems."