Council's driving Chamber mad
A STOUSH between Byron Shire Council and the Bangalow Chamber of Commerce over parking is set to erupt after a weekend of bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Business in the area reported their busiest trading day in long-term memory, with a combination of the Starlight Expo, the Bangalow Markets and Bluesfest over Easter bringing an unprecedented number of visitors into the village.
For many hours, traffic was banked along Byron St as motorists struggled to find somewhere to park.
Chamber president Michael Malloy said representations were made to the council about the need for more parking nearly eight years ago.
“But the council has stalled and dodged,” he said. “It’s an issue that never gets resolved because the council has no understanding of what the real problems are and is driven by a green agenda that says there will be no petrol in five years so everyone will be riding pushbikes.”
Mr Malloy said Bangalow was now the site of an increasing amount of traffic because of “natural growth” but there wasn’t any provision for this.
At the end of March, the council recommended a Traffic Management Plan consider encouraging alternatives to parking including identification of walkway and cycle links, time limits for main street parking, no increase in central parking spaces, paid parking, long term parking at sites such as the sports fields and options for a small bus service catering to residents and visitors. Mr Malloy said the chamber was not in favour of council’s current recommendations and could not understand why it did not take up an offer by the Catholic Church to lease land near Station St for $20 a year over 20 years to increase parking.
Council’s community infrastructure manager Michael King said the council had recently been informed of a number of sites that could provide additional spaces in Bangalow. A report on available section 94 developer contributions funding for Bangalow, including car parking, would be presented to the council in mid-May, he said.
Executive manager of planning Ray Darney said the council had more than $1.3 million available, but some of this funding required matching contributions.