Council blamed for parking fees
BALLINA Shire residents have accused the council of a ‘money grab’ under a plan that would force residents to pay for parking at the airport.
The council’s Airport Committee will meet this afternoon to consider axing an exemption for residents which allows them to park for free for two hours if they have a council sticker.
Airport staff estimate about 40 per cent of the vehicles parking at the airport use the residents’ exemption.
Based on traffic figures for April this year, charging Ballina Shire residents for parking will generate $3200 a month in revenue, with 1600 motorists required to pay $2.
Beyond bottom line considerations, the report to go before councillors argues the current policy ‘is not considered fair and reasonable for a regional facility that is heavily reliant on adjoining shires and visitors to the shire for ongoing growth, patronage and airport revenue’.
But several locals told The Northern Star they would be opposed to paying.
Leonie Saville and her husband, Duncan, were picking up a fleet of family members in two cars on Saturday.
“I think we should get it for free. It should be calculated in our rates,” Mrs Saville said.
“Usually we’re just here to pick someone up or drop someone off. If the plane’s on time I’m not here long at all.”
Mrs Saville suggested allowing residents to park for an hour for free.
Kim McDowell, from Ballina, said there should be another option short of charging residents the full fare.
“I just think it’s a bit of money grab,” she said.
“I think it should be negotiated and there should be some consultation. I don’t think they should bring it in without asking residents what’s best for them.”
Richard Cowin, of Alstonville, said the cost was too much given the relatively short period of time people use the car park.
“You’re only down here for five minutes. Why should we have to pay? To pay, I think, is ludicrous,” he said.
It is recommending the changes start on September 1.