Visitors cop just deserts
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
BYRON Shire mayor Jan Barham claims there's nothing wrong with her council ranking the highest in regional New South Wales for issuing parking fines.
According to the latest Office of State Revenue figures, the Byron Shire issued $1.1 million in fines between 2006 and 2007.
The council's nearest regional challenger was Gosford with $620,408 in fines.
However, Cr Barham said the figures were to be expected.
"We're the most visited town in the country," she said.
"And you need to take into account people only get fined when they do something wrong."
The council's planning director, Ray Darney, said the Byron Shire had been issuing the same number of fines for the past three years.
He also said about $940,000 were parking fines, but the rest were other infringement notices for offences such as littering and dog control.
"Our council officers do a fine job under difficult circumstances," Mr Darney said.
"They're very competent and if they didn't do their job it would be a lot more difficult for people to find carparks in Byron Bay."
Lennox Head-based Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack, who provided The Northern Star with the figures, said there was inadequate parking in the Byron Shire.
Ms Cusack said the council should be directing the parking revenue into solving parking problems in the shire.
Cr Barham said carparks had already been upgraded at Lawson Street and Main Beach, and work was about to start on the Clarks Beach carpark.
"We could just concrete everywhere, but I don't think people would like that," she said.
"We're constantly looking at parking, but there has to be a balance."
Mr Darney said the council was in the middle of creating a traffic management plan and more parking was one of the issues to be explored.