Free all-day parking for hospital precinct
LISMORE City Council is set to offer free all-day parking in the Lismore Base Hospital precinct in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Councillors voted to introduce free parking in certain zones across the medical precinct, as well as waiving parking restrictions for a six-month period.
Lismore City Council mayor Isaac Smith raised the motion at tonight's ordinary meeting.
Cr Smith said the motion was in response to the recent action of state government, which made all carparks free for all hospital workers.
The included to provide free all-day parking in the Hospital precinct on Hunter and Dalziel streets for six months, as well as waive parking restrictions in Weaver Street, Laurel Avenue and Mckenzie Street to enable all-day parking for same six-month period.
The motion also proposed writing to the NSW Premier and Minister for Health asking for covering the financial costs of their employees.
Cr Darlene Cook seconded the motion, and said it was important to support the health workers.
"The hospital workers are doing an incredible job and they deserve this assistance," she said.
She said the possibility of offering free parking was becoming more necessary while the local health district is recruiting more staff which has increased demand for all-day parking.
"Opening up parking in surrounding streets is our way to thank you for the work they are doing," she said.
"To not do this would be too damaging."
However Cr Vanessa Ekins opposed the motion, and said the purpose of introducing parking restrictions was to help provide parking spaces for hospital visitors as well as staff.
She said she was concerned the introduction of free all-day parking could be "detrimental" for both visitors, as well as nearby residents.
Cr Elly Bird said while she acknowledged the hard work of health professionals, she opposed the motion due to the council's current financial position.
"This could cost council anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000," she said.
"And there is no assurance the money will be repaid by state government.
"As much as there is a need to support these people, there is also the need to be financially responsible. If there was government assistance, I would support it hands down."
The Northern NSW Local Health District is currently offering free parking in a selected carpark within the precinct.
Crs Smith, Cook, Moorhouse, Lloyd, Bennett, Marks and Casson voted in favour of the motion.