Last ditch effort for free parking at Lismore hospital
The issue of free parking at the Lismore Base Hospital precinct will be discussed at the council’s meeting next week.
Two councillors, Darlene Cook and Nancy Casson, have both lodged motions to reinstate free parking.
It comes after paid parking was reintroduced around the hospital from January 18, prompting outcries from health workers and their unions.
Cr Cook’s notice of motion is for the council to “acknowledge the valuable contribution of our frontline workers at our hospitals and their efforts to keep our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic”.
She wants the council to reinstate free parking on Hunter St and Dalziel St and waive restrictions on parking on Weaver St, Laurel Ave and McKenzie St for three months.
If passed, the council would make a follow-up decision at the May meeting.
However Cr Cook also suggested the council write to the NSW Premier, Health Minister and Lismore MP Janelle Saffin to request “financial reimbursement for council’s loss of revenue incurred by our support for state employees”.
It estimated the council will lose around $50,000 in revenue.
Cr Casson’s motion is to continue free parking at Lismore Base Hospital “indefinitely”.
She said it would allow health workers to be COVID-19 ready.
In response to the two motions, the council’s finance manager said the Lismore Base Hospital parking precinct development was funded through an internal loan from the council’s internally restricted reserves.
“Any surplus of revenues each year being returned to reserves to repay the internal loan,” the staff comment states.
“As at 30 June 2020 the internal loan had an approximate balance of $288,000.
“Should council reimpose the restrictions, the impact will be to delay the repayment of the loan for the period the restrictions are to apply.
“There would be also an opportunity cost to council, as council will not have these reserves available for use until this loan is fully repaid.”
Councillors will vote on the motions at the meeting on Tuesday, February 9.