No council parking inspectors for Grafton Mall

SHOPPERS overstaying their welcome in a Grafton supermarket car park won't have to watch out for the parking inspector.

Clarence Valley councillors have knocked back an invitation from the owners of Grafton Mall, Grafton Mall Investments Pty Ltd, to allow its rangers to book people for parking infringements.

At Tuesday's council meeting Cr Craig Howe overturned a council staff recommendation to accept the invitation to regulate the 157 car parking place at the mall.

"Council should not be in the business of being private parking police," Cr Howe said. "It makes council look like it's money grabbing."

Cr Howe said the owners could look at other methods, like boom gates and ticket machines, to self-regulate the parking areas.

The leadership team of Mayor Richie Williamson and deputy Andrew Baker were not so worried.

The Mayor admitted to a case of boom-gate phobia in his address.

"I don't like the boom gate idea," he said. "It's just me. I don't like the idea of traffic lights either.

"I don't mind having a crack at this for a couple of years, to see if we can recoup the costs or not."

Cr Baker said he favoured the idea of policing the car park, but wanted an up-front payment of $25 a year for each parking space, just in case rangers could not cover costs.

But he did like the idea of boom gates, especially if it was at Main Beach, Yamba.

"They could reduce the workload on the parking people, especially if they were applied to higher revenue areas at the top of the hill at Yamba," he said.

Cr Karen Toms was worried council regulating private car parks would make it the "bad guy".

"It will give rangers more work to do and more grief," she said.

However, Cr Margaret McKenna supported the motion because council was not grabbing enough money.

"If staff are only getting $75 a week to do this, it's not enough," she said.

She estimated council needed to charge around $60 a car park. "Unless council can get enough out of it we should be erring on the side of not doing it all," Cr McKenna said.

In his right of reply, Cr Howe said the car parking issue was more likely to be related to the mall owner's plans to build covered car parking at the mall, making it more attractive.

Councillors voted 5-4 for his motion.



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