Millions in parking fines
MORE than $1.3 million in parking fines was collected by the Byron Shire Council over the past financial year.
That figure has almost doubled in six years – in 2002/03 the council issued $729,000 in fines.
But at the other end of the scale, fines issued by Richmond Valley Council totalled just $1400, up from $640.
Councils across the state collected $139 million in parking fines in 2008/09. In Byron the most common offence was parking for longer than permitted.
More than 5000 fines were issued for this, totalling $407,000.
But Byron mayor Jan Barham yesterday denied that more fines were being issued in an effort to boost revenue.
“We issue a lot of fines because we have a lot of people coming here,” she said.
“People on holidays here obviously don’t read the signs. It’s not like fines are issued to people who do the right thing.
“But we have had parking issues in Byron for a long time.
“We want to give everyone a fair go and fair access to our parking spaces.
“If people overstay their time or park incorrectly, it is unfortunate for them, but they can be fined.”
Cr Barham said two rangers were stationed in Byron Bay each day, but she said they had other duties aside from issuing parking fines.
“The revenue goes back to the community in the form of infrastructure,” she said.
“But $1.3 million is a very small amount when you think about how much it costs to maintain all of the council’s parking spaces.
“And not everyone pays their fines.”
Richmond Valley Council general manager Brian Wilkinson said issuing parking fines was not a priority for the council.
“We don’t put a lot of resources into it,” he said.
“We don’t have that much of a problem with parking. We just don’t see it as an issue.”