Chigwidden hits out at Byron Council over paid parking
FORMER Byron Shire News editor Gary Chigwidden has hit out at Byron Shire Council over paid parking in the town.
Mr Chigwidden posted this on his own Facebook page and in a group called Know What I Miss About Byron Bay? last night and has received a huge response.
"I've got plenty of my mind and at this second, it mostly relates to paid parking in Byron Bay," Mr Chigwidden wrote.
"So, I've spent some time this arvo outlining my opposition to the latest Byron Council move to once again stick it up the locals.
"If you feel the same as me, please share this around and act on it. If you disagree with my view, that's fine too."
This was his post:
GET READY FOR YOUR $8 MORNING COFFEE
ONCE again, Byron Bay residents are being told they will be subsidising tourist activities in our town through paid parking.
We are being told that if we don't want to fork out $4 an hour to park in our CBD, then we can buy an annual local's parking voucher for $100.
Our mayor Simon Richardson tells us that it equates to only $2 a week. Well, how lucky are we.
Unhappily though Simon, there are some people who live in this town - and across the shire - who just don't have a lazy $100 to be able to do that. And I don't imagine the council can set up a facility where those people can go to the council's office once a week to pay their $2. So what do those people do? Not go into the CBD? Not shop at Byron Bay?
Already I've heard many people say they will be doing their shopping in Ballina.
Why, oh why, does our council continually want to slug us when we are clearly a minor demographic in our own town?
Our permanent population - Byron Bay, Suffolk Park, Sunrise and Ewingsdale - is somewhere around 10,000 and the Byron Shire is 32,000.
Compare that to the 1.7 million visitors who come here every year.
Council's own figures show that in 2013, there were 526,000 domestic visitors who stayed overnight at Byron Bay and 680,000 daytrippers.
Of those daytrippers, 81 percent arrived by car - that's more than 400,000.
So tell me who should be paying the lion's share to fix our excuses for roads and to maintain and build public infrastructure, which is where the parking money will allegedly go?
If it's the council's (and councillors) aim to drive locals out of the Byron Bay CBD and off our beaches and hand over the town completely to tourists, this possibly will help achieve that.
Without the $100 sticker, any of us who pull up outside Trevor Mead's butcher shop, the newsagency, or any other Jonson Street retailer, will have to buy a $4 ticket, even if you are only ducking into a shop for five minutes.
Your $4 morning coffee will now cost you $8. Who's going to suffer?
And where will people who work in the Byron Bay CBD be able to park their cars all day?
I've always opposed the idea of locals having to pay to park in their town and grudgingly accepted the introduction of the resident parking coupon - $25 and free for pensioners.
But to now blow the cost of the coupon out to $100 is an outrageous impost on locals who already suffer a major loss of amenity through the sheer weight of tourist numbers.
And I haven't seen any reference as to whether pensioners will get slugged the full $100, get a discount, or get it for free.
In any event, local residents shouldn't be paying a cent.
If you feel as strongly about this as I do, don't let it slide. Contact the mayor and other councillors and let them know how you feel and demand the decision relating to locals, be overturned.
Phone numbers and email addresses for councillors can be found on Byron Shire Council's website. Go to 'Your Council' and drag down for names and contact details.
Do you agree with Mr Chigwidden?