Residents can walk to town if paid parking goes ahead: Mayor
BRUNSWICK Heads residents could walk or cycle into town rather than take up valuable car parking spaces, and in exchange revenue raised would go towards footpaths, trees and facilities.
That was a view expressed by Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson during a long and confusing discussion on paid parking in the town at Byron Shire Council's ordinary meeting yesterday.
All councillors voted in favour of a motion put forward by Cr Hunter and Cr Spooner to defer a decision on changing the current parking arrangements in Brunswick Heads until the next ordinary meeting.
Kim Rosen from Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce asked the council to defer the recommendations during the meeting.
"Coffees are up, meals are down and retails are not being browsed," she said of current parking time zones in the town.
"People don't want to be fined for staying more than half an hour.
"We would like this to be deferred for three months so more data can be collected.
"We are concerned council has no data on how long employees need parking.
"Workers would have to park in residential streets."
Ms Rosen said if paid parking were introduced "gone will be the Bruns simple day at the beach ... families will have to lug their beach paraphernalia 15 minutes to get to the beach."
The decision came despite mayor Simon Richardson putting forward an amended motion for paid parking.
He said it must be acknowledged that the town is "near capacity and will exceed capacity in the near future".
"We've got paid parking meters we are paying for that are sitting in the shed. Let's put them out for six months.
"We need to raise some money from day visitors (which cost about $23 million a year).
"We can take a couple of bucks off a day visitor and put it back into Brunswick Heads."
Cr Richardson said he was proposing paid parking because he "loves Brunswick Heads".
He said locals can change their behaviours and walk or cycle into town, and in exchange revenue raised would go towards footpaths, trees and facilities.
But, he asked if the council could consider their legal ability to operate the parking scheme only at holiday periods and weekends.
Cr Alan Hunter said he was concerned about the lack of communication with the locals and that the council had not carried out research for 12 months.
He asked that the council defer any decision on changing the current parking arrangements in Brunswick Heads until next Ordinary Meeting of Council.
Cr Sarah Ndiaye said there was "never going to be support from the Chamber of Commerce" but there was support from residents for paid parking.
"Poor old Brunswick is struggling and we would love to make it more beautiful... this is basically our only way to get there.
"This idea that its going to completely ruin businesses...I don't believe its true."
Cr Basil Cameron said the decision needed to be "data driven".
"It's way too early to try and say we are going to put parking meters in."