Furious Byron locals take to social media over paid parking

PLAN OF ATTACK: Residents are angry that Byron Shire Council is planning to introduce paid parking in the CBD.
PLAN OF ATTACK: Residents are angry that Byron Shire Council is planning to introduce paid parking in the CBD.

BYRON'S foreshadowed paid parking scheme has seen furious locals take to social media to vent their anger.

The new scheme adopts a $4 per hour cost for parking across much of the CBD with time limits imposed.

Residents' parking stickers will go from $25 to $100 per year and businesses without parking will need to park cars on the Butler Street Reserve at a cost of $80 per month.

Former Byron Shire News editor Gary Chigwidden spoke for many when he posted his thoughts on the scheme on his own Facebook page and in a group called Know What I Miss About Byron Bay.

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"I have been told that my post on their site broke all kinds of records with 390 likes and more than 149 comments," said Mr Chigwidden.

"The thing is for locals not just to post that they hate the scheme but for them to actually contact the council and councillors."

Mr Chigwidden posted: "Once again, Byron Bay residents are being told they will be subsidising tourist activities in our town through paid parking.

"We are being told that if we don't want to fork out $4 an hour to park in our CBD, then we can buy an annual local's parking voucher for $100."

Former Byron Shire News editor Gary Chigwidden
Former Byron Shire News editor Gary Chigwidden

Several business owners around town said they were also concerned at the effect the paid parking may have on not only their customers but also their own parking arrangements.

Carey and Carmel Horner, owners of Toy Kingdom at the corner of Jonson and Carlyle Sts, were concerned they would be forced to pay to park at Byron every day.

Living just outside the Byron Shire the couple may be slugged $80 per month to park in the Butler St Reserve

"It will penalise those who live in and work in town," said Ms Horner. "I think this will just push the parking problem out into residential areas."

Co-owner of the Quiksilver stores in Byron CBD, Danny Wills, was concerned $4 an hour was too much for locals but comparable to parking in a big city.

"Being able to park in town for four hours could be good for visitors, it gives them time to have a feed and do some shopping," he said. "But the $80 per month for business parking in Butler St is just way too much."

UNHAPPY: Toy Kingdom owners Carey and Carmel Horner fear paying to park daily and, below left, former Byron Shire News editor Gary Chigwidden is angry about the plan.
UNHAPPY: Toy Kingdom owners Carey and Carmel Horner fear paying to park daily and, below left, former Byron Shire News editor Gary Chigwidden is angry about the plan.

Byron Shire Council general manager Ken Gainger said with high demands for parking in the town centre, paid parking would help change behaviour and may forestall rate rises.

"Providing a free pass for locals would not change behaviour which is a key consideration for introducing the scheme.

"It's also a great opportunity for businesses to look at how they currently manage their on-site parking and see how improvements could be made," Mr Gainger said.

With only 14,000 ratepayers providing infrastructure to support the more than 1.5 million visitors to the town per year Mr Gainger said paid parking was the best way to raise the infrastructure funds.

However, he reassured pensioners the parking local exemption permit would operate as per the existing coupon scheme.

"Locals with a disability permit or with a blue pensioner card will not have to pay the $100 exemption fee," he said.

 


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