A protest over paid parking was held outside the Byron Shire Council chambers.
A protest over paid parking was held outside the Byron Shire Council chambers. Jasmine Burke

We need paid parking because of Queenslanders: Councillor

UPDATE, 12.45pm: A BYRON Shire councillor said Queenslanders outnumbered locals in Brunswick Heads on any given day, and she knows because she counts number plates.

Cr Sarah Ndiaye said she was in favour of paid parking in Brunswick Heads.

"I go down there most days … I count Queensland versus NSW number plates and, more often than not, the proportion of Queensland number plates outweighs NSW ones," she said.

Byron Shire Council agreed to investigate paid parking in the village when they passed a motion which included the expedition of a report that will provide information on establishing periodic paid parking to be activated on long weekends, holidays and high demand period.

The motion also included the undertaking of an automated number plate recognition survey, and increased patrolling along with technology including parking metres and sensors.

The council will integrate results and report back on the issue in May 2020.

Cr Ndiaye said she thought it was "a good way to explore what is anecdotally said all of the time, that Brunswick Heads is really crowded on holidays, public holidays, when the weather is great".

"This gives us the opportunity to help establish whether it's possible to manage parking on those really big days," she said.

"Those big days stop people stopping at those businesses in town and I'm one of them. I drive and I go, 'It's too hard to park, I'll go up the road'."

Mayor Simon Richardson said the motion was "just getting some information", and was a "not a revenue raising scheme… but a legitimate high demand parking regime strategy."

"Unless we want to have rangers standing in front of every street fining people to compliance…even that has shown to be not as effective as paid parking," Cr Richardson said.

During the debate Cr Basil Cameron said council rushed into purchasing meters, which "were not even required for Bangalow".

He urged the council to "not make the same mistakes again".

During council's May meeting, it was revealed the council was already paying for parking meters sitting in a storage shed.

Cr Paul Spooner said the discussion had been on the table for many years.

"The worst case scenario is if we get to 2020 and there's a big barney again…given the track record of this council that's exactly what will happen," Cr Spooner said.

"Let's get all information that is required from all sides of this debate so that we can have a clear decision that is in the benefit of our community in May 2020.

"We have to have an end date because we just go around in circles otherwise.

The motion was passed by all councillors except Cr Cameron.

 

Original story: RESIDENTS' passion for their seaside village led to one of the most heated debates during Byron Shire Council's public access sessions all year.

A swarm of Brunswick Heads residents gathered at the chambers donned in red and carrying signs with the message: "BRUNS is NOT Byron Bay".

Business owner and member of the group, Say No to Paid Parking in Brunswick Heads, Michelle Begg, said the issue meant residents were "having to fight for our livelihood, jobs, Bruns' simple pleasures town character and sense of place, which has no place for parking meters".

Another spokeswoman said paid parking could potentially "put small local owner operators out of business".

Things heated up during question time, with shouts and rebuttals from the passionate protest group when councillors attempted to ask questions.

Kim Rosen from Brunswick Heads Visitor Centre said she believed the town could have a "well managed parking scheme without paid parking".

Despite Cr Cate Coorey's claim that data revealed "people are coming from out of town" and "festivals, weekends and holidays are hellishly busy", Ms Rosen said there was no proof about how many day visitors frequented the town.

She said paid parking would be "overkill" and there was no point putting it in when the town was "only busy a couple of times a year".

"Please don't try to force your personal views on our village ... paid parking is not needed or wanted in Bruns," she said.

"If you vote for paid parking today you'll be singling out Brunswick Heads.

"There's not traffic chaos... people can always seem to find a parking spot and walk a little further into town.

"The sensible thing to do would be have overflow parking."