Council to end paid parking in Lismore CBD, launch review
PAID parking will be removed from the Kirkland Riviera car park in Lismore, with a review of all parking in Lismore's CBD to be undertaken.
Cafe owner David Copeland told the council the introduction of paid parking six weeks ago had caused a dramatic downturn in foot traffic in Molesworth St, which was affecting businesses there.
"That car park used to be full, now it's virtually empty," he said.
He knew of five businesses that had either laid people off or given them reduced shifts since paid parking was introduced.
Mr Copeland presented a petition with 3200 signatures from people wanting it to revert to a free parking area.
The council said the car park was earning about $550 a week and occupancy was well down since paid parking was introduced.
Councillor Graham Meineke called the move to paid parking "a rather feeble attempt to raise money in our budget".
The motion to remove the paid parking was put forward by Cr Greg Bennett, who called it "bad policy" that was "driving customers to the Square".
Cr Neil Marks said the council should admit they "got it wrong" and remove the parking fees as soon as possible.
Cr Vanessa Ekins pointed to an early study by TTM Consultants which suggested one of the things the council needed to do to increase traffic in the CBD was to have a high turnover of cars.
She also pointed out that at some stage in the future much of the car park would disappear when Richmond River County Council did the next stage of levy work to stabilise the river bank.
Cr Isaac Smith added an amendment that the council consult with all stakeholders to find the best outcome for parking across the CBD.
"It's a difficult time in Lismore and we need to look at the whole picture and get everyone to the table," he said.
His amendment was successful and the council will now go through a process of talking to retailers and residents.
In the meantime, the parking meters were decommissioned from 9am yesterday and signage would be adjusted to again make the area a free, two-hour car park.