|17 August 2015
The Byron Bay pay parking scheme is set to be introduced at a revised $3 per hour and the annual residents’ exemption set at $50 per year.
Centrelink blue cardholders would not incur a fee for the pay parking exemption.
Those who work in town but live outside of Byron Shire, will also be able to apply for a $100 yearly exemption and park on-street and in Council managed car parks.
As an incentive to park outside of the town centre, additional parking will be created in Butler Street Reserve. Clarkes Beach car park, Jonson Street (south of Kingsley Street) and on-street east of Middleton Street will also be capped at $20 for all day car parking or $10 for 4 hours.
Council will also continue to explore how the markets can co-exist with a pay parking scheme in place or identify at least equally appropriate sites within the town centre.
The pay parking scheme would apply between 9am to 6pm on-street in Byron Bay town centre and from 6am to 6pm in Butler Street Reserve.
Mayor Simon Richardson said in listening to public concerns, the revised pay parking scheme has been about finding a balance, knowing that it is impossible to know all the answers of such a scheme before we start and thus, changes and adjustments can and will be made as the reality unfolds.
“It’s been a moving conversation with many different groups over the past twelve months. But one that was necessary to arrive at a scheme that is equitable, aims to change parking behaviour and create a new revenue scheme for Council.
“A $50 exemption, a rise of $25, is pleasingly less than the recent $100 proposal and will allow locals to park about town as per normal, with some additional all day car parks provided,” he said.
Mayor Richardson went on to explain that doing nothing was not appropriate or possible.
“With little state government funding support available for Council to cater for the nearly one million day visitors, we have to raise revenue ourselves.
“Traffic is getting worse and we need to fix our ageing infrastructure throughout the shire.
“Along with reviewing property assets, procurement and becoming more efficient, pay parking is an integral part of our Fit for the Future plan.
“Council needs to look for ways to generate revenue or face the possibility of amalgamation or significant ongoing rate rises for ratepayers.
“Whilst our landscape footprint is that of a small sleepy coastal town, the 1.5 million visitors who arrive each year tell a different story.
“It is only fair that we ask for a contribution from our visitors for the privilege of using the facilities within our beautiful area.
“Not fixing our traffic, parking and infrastructure will be risky for business and turn people away from visiting Byron,” he said.
Mayor Richardson again highlighted that the revised pay parking scheme had significant incentives for visitors to park outside of the town centre.
“Consultation from the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan has shown that locals want a pedestrian friendly town centre and pay parking will help provide the motivation to park at a discounted rate on the outskirts. It will begin the process of making the town better for people to enjoy,” he said.
A parking permit for residents who live within the perimeter of the pay parking area would be issued and allow them to park on their street as per usual.
Mayor Richardson said the pay parking scheme will also consider businesses with multiple vehicles.
“The technology that supports the pay parking machine will allow for the scheme to be adjusted.
“How we pay and the option of payment instalments will also be confirmed following the tender on parking machines.
“Staff will also ensure that impacts to the local primary schools in the town centre for teachers and parents will be minimised,” he said.