What business wouldn’t be happy about earning $500,000 in cash? Byron Shire Council has announced that’s how much its controversial parking meters have collected in the short time they’ve been in place.
That’s is spite of the fact that four-hour and all-day meters were not installed until after the Christmas-New Year peak.
While users still argue about whether the meters are a good or bad thing for Byron, at least they won’t have to scrabble for change any longer: the council has announced the machines will now accept credit cards.
Council’s general manager Ken Gainger said was ‘a relief to finally have this facility available as it has been quite inconvenient to the community to have to access the volume of coins required for parking machines, particularly in the four-hour and all-day parking areas.’
Mr Gainger thanked the community for their patience and, in particular, ‘Byron Bay business operators who have been inundated with requests for change to feed the meters.’
‘I’m well aware that a lot of local businesses close to parking meters have had to go out of their way to acquire change and hand it out to people that weren’t necessarily customers.’
‘I’d like to thank them all for their patience while Council staff worked with the parking machine operators to iron out the technical issues that precluded the availability of a credit card facility – the problems lay with the service provider and were beyond council’s control,’ he said.
Mr Gainger said ‘a considerable portion’ of the $500,000 revenue had been derived from visitors and would go towards ‘an infrastructure renewal program in Byron Bay and across the shire.’
‘Further infrastructure projects similar to the road works recently undertaken in Middleton Street and Massinger Street and shortly to commence in Broken Head Road, can be expected.’
Mr Gainger also referred to new revitalisation projects under way for Byron Bay’s streets and laneways as examples of parking revenue being utilised to improve amenity for our community and visitors.
‘Reports from Byron business operators and community members suggest that paid parking is also having the desired effect of increasing turnover of parking spaces and improving parking availability,’ he said.
‘Together with improved traffic flows into town following works undertaken by council in Lawson Street, this demonstrates that council’s strategies are working and making a difference.’
Mr Gainger said staff were gathering data on changed parking and usage patterns and would provide a review report to the council mid year.