Protesting against paid parking in Brunswick Heads in 2017, Juliana Harmsen and Zac Tooth from Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce hand over the anti-paid parking petition containing 4,500 signatures to Byron Shire Councillor Paul Spooner.
Protesting against paid parking in Brunswick Heads in 2017, Juliana Harmsen and Zac Tooth from Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce hand over the anti-paid parking petition containing 4,500 signatures to Byron Shire Councillor Paul Spooner.

’They just won’t give up’: Paid parking slammed

THE Brunswick Heads business community has criticised ongoing plans to consider implementing paid parking.

Kim Rosen represents the No Paid Parking for Brunswick Heads group, a section of the business chamber.

Ms Rosen said they were "very upset" with news mayor Simon Richardson would bring a rescission motion before the Byron Shire Council.

Cr Richardson will seek to rescind a decision, made at last week's ordinary meeting, in which councillors voted to defer further consideration of paid parking until after June 30 next year.

The paperwork for that rescission has been officially lodged and the motion will go before the council on August 27.

Ms Rosen said she was hopeful they could deter councillors from implementing a paid parking scheme.

As early as May 2011, the council was looking to expand its paid parking from Byron Bay to include Bangalow, Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads.

The Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce has maintained opposition to the plan.

Ms Rosen said those pushing for the change "just won't accept" her community "is a different story" to Byron Bay.

"It's a village," she said.

She said the chamber's surveys of local businesses found many felt they had a long road ahead to bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said 110 jobs had been lost in Brunswick Heads during the pandemic.

"Most of them are going to take more than a year to recover," she said.

Her group has meanwhile argued the council's figures on carparking occupancy in the town are "inflated", being drawn from higher-capacity days and not reflecting the true average.

Some of the figures indicate days of above 200 per cent capacity, but she says this isn't reflective of the real situation in the town.

At last week's meeting, council staff said they took into account vehicles that were illegally parked close to the town's various parking zones, as their presence was relevant to the study.

Ms Rosen fears the scheme would hurt local businesses without putting significant funds back into community infrastructure.

"We've had this hanging over our head now for five years," she said.

"They just won't give up.

"We just want to be paid-parking free.

"How could they do this to a small community that's struggling?

"We're trying to do everything we can to help businesses survive."

The business chamber launched its Buy Local campaign, running throughout July, on Wednesday.