Tourists pay for parking infrastructure at busy beaches: proposal

Visitors to Hyams Beach last summer. Hyams Beach will be top priority in the scheme proposed by Shoalhaven Councillor Andrew Guile
Visitors to Hyams Beach last summer. Hyams Beach will be top priority in the scheme proposed by Shoalhaven Councillor Andrew Guile

Shoalhaven Councillor Andrew Guile has proposed a bold new scheme to remedy the gridlock in small coastal towns during peak holiday times.

In a city where parking is free everywhere, Cr Guile wants to implement a parking scheme, where tourists pay, and residents are exempt.

Parking meters would be set up in problem areas, like Hyams Beach, Manyana and Bendalong.

Tourists would pay, and residents, provided with a sticker for their cars, would be exempt.

The funding from the scheme would go directly into an account that would pay for extra parking lots and public transport into tourism hotspots.

Cr Guile is responding to feedback from a number of residents who called him with concerns about a lack of infrastructure to cope with the influx of tourists.

Cr Guile shared his ideas with fellow councillors today, and he said at this stage most councillors are in agreement – this could be the solution to the gridlock.

“During the summer season, the Shoalhaven population swells from around 100,000 people to well over 300,000 and the signs are that this may be further increasing,” Cr Guile said.

“Unless Council takes the initiative to deliver more resources for tourism infrastructure and the management of peak demand, we ultimately put at risk our tourism business while ruining the residential amenity of our local communities.”

In the motion, Cr Guile said he fears uncontrolled growth in tourist visitation is likely to put other local communities at risk of loss of amenity as well as suffering environmental damage without better planning and management.

He said a permanent infrastructure and management plan was needed for Hyams beach including shuttle services and header car parks.

He said waste management, public toilet facilities and maintenance of their cleanliness also needed to be addressed.

The coastal towns have limited facilities for the parking of motorhomes, caravans, buses and vehicles with trailers and boats, and Cr Guile would like to use revenue to change that.

If his motion is approved by councillors at the next ordinary meeting on January 30, the first move would be to contact local chambers of commerce for feedback.

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