Cairns council raises rates for parking
THE cost of parking in the Cairns CBD will go up from January 1 so the council can raise about $250,000 in extra revenue in the next six months.
And most parking fines will double in the New Year, which could potentially rake in another $250,000 for the council before the end of the financial year.
The extra cash will help repair the council's under-performing operating revenue, which was about $1.6 million below expectations at the end of October.
Under the changes, the cost of parking will increase from $1 to $1.20 an hour, and getting caught with an expired meter will result in a $40 fine instead of $20.
Drivers have bristled at the idea of being charged an extra 20c an hour to park in the CBD from next year, but business leaders insist the grand sum of all that small change will benefit the city centre if it's spent wisely.
"Twenty cents is not going to be a significant impact on each individual's pocket, but the cumulative effect could be some positive investment in the city, a CBD upgrade,'' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Debbie Hancock said.
Cairns Regional Council already makes about $1 million a year in parking fees and fines.
Mayor Bob Manning and his team decided not to increase the $1 parking fee in June when it was up for review, deferring an increase to give local business owners some reprieve and also to assess how much revenue is really needed for projects in the CBD.
The council has now decided drivers in Cairns must pay more for parking.
That has annoyed some residents who say the cost and inconvenience of parking already puts them off coming into the heart of town.
"You already spend a lot of money in the shops, so to have to put money in the meter is annoying," David Matulick of Smithfield said.
"It makes shopping not relaxing because you have to worry about coming out every hour and checking your meter and putting more money in it."
But council says the increases bring Cairns into line with other regional centres.
Townsville Regional Council charges $1 an hour for parking and $20 for having an expired meter, which is the same as Cairns Regional Council currently charges.
It costs up to $4.20 an hour to park in Brisbane. Council says the extra revenue will go into its general operational budget.
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Raising cash: Parking will cost $1.20 an hour in the Cairns CBD and fines will double to $40 from next year.