Parking meters not welcome in town
BYRON Shire Council is facing protests on two fronts with Bangalow residents joining their Brunswick Heads counterparts in strenuously opposing the introduction of paid parking.
Paid parking is scheduled to be rolled out in Bangalow from January 1 and Bangalow Chamber of Commerce president Jo Millar said many in the village feel council is ignoring community sentiment.
"We don't feel the council has heard what we are saying and we don't believe they are respecting the process," Ms Millar said.
"I think it's a case of fools rush in where angels fear to tread in making these changes that are, after all, totally a revenue grab."
Ms Millar drew comparisons with the recent Railway Park incident in Byron Bay with council forced into a backdown over the eviction of the Byron Environment Centre and a public apology following the removal of trees without adequate consultation.
"It's apparent that something isn't working properly (in council)," Ms Millar said.
"People are not being listened to when it comes to major changes in their communities."
In an open letter to Byron councillors and staff the chamber formally re-stated its opposition to paid parking proposal and cast doubts over estimates of how much revenue would be raised and whether any funds raised in the town could be quarantined for use in the town.
The letter also asked why even as the community and council worked on the villages master plan, council had stepped outside the process to make an important decision to introduce paid parking, "sweeping aside the best intentions of the (Bangalow) Guidance Group".
"Our business community is already under pressure and paid parking is going to have a serious negative effect on this village for both the community and its businesses," Ms Millar said.
Bangalow Progress Association president Ian Holmes said it was debatable whether the introduction of paid parking in Byron Bay had achieved the desired result and if it would work in Brunswick Heads.
"They're all very different to each other and there is no such thing as a one size fits all solution," he said.