Forces join to take on paid parking
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
BYRON Bay CBD retailers have joined forces with the Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce to tackle paid parking in the town.
The CBD-based Byron Business Group and the chamber are presenting a united front to Byron Shire Council in preparation for a November 12 forum on the issue.
"We've had very intensive discussions between the chamber and the business group, and there were issues we didn't agree on," Barry Wallace from the Byron Business Group said.
"But, we've now banded together."
Mr Wallace and other CBD retailers had previously taken a hard-line stance on the paid parking issue, claiming it turned tourists away from the town.
While Mr Wallace would not say he was backing down from that stance, he said he was 'prepared to be reasonable and businesslike about (paid parking)'.
"This is really about recognising we have an industry in this town called tourism, and this is about getting the council to manage that industry properly," he said.
Many CBD retailers had vehemently fought paid parking, claiming as much as 30 per cent of tourist trade had been lost due to the introduction of a six-month coupon-parking trial last year in December.
"We have a beautiful little town here and we want to look after it and nurture it, but it's a good town because of tourism," Mr Wallace said.
"We have to get council to understand that their ideas for paid parking cost people jobs," he said.
Byron Shire general manager Pamela Westing yesterday said it would be 'some time' before the council resolved the issue of paid parking, with no changes to be made before Christmas.