AN OVERWHELMING outcry from Apollo Bay residents has convinced civic leaders to abandon investigations into installing parking meters at the coastal hub.
Colac Otway Shire councillors voted 6-1 to abandon the idea of parking meters for Apollo Bay, but an attempt to set up Apollo Bay’s own small town improvement program also failed, 2-5.
Council officers had recommended that profits from the parking meters would go into a fund for “high-priority projects” at Apollo Bay.
Mayor Lyn Russell said she received 66 emails and 22 phone calls in the three days leading up to Wednesday’s council meeting, with all the calls and emails arguing against parking meters.
“Of the 22 that phoned, at least 90 per cent were older permanent residents who did not have access to emails,” she said.
“Their concern was that they quite often go down the street each day, for a lot of them it is their social life to go down the street and have a cup of coffee.
“They have concerns about what it would do to their town and the impact it would have, especially in the winter months.”
Cr Russell said people were worried about the impact of parking meters on businesses.
“Most people also spoke about the example of Anglesea and Lorne, and the work of Surf Coast Shire in putting in parking meters, and how they were taken out,” she said.
She thanked the people who had taken the time to contact councillors.
A report to the council recommended putting the revenue-raising idea out for public consultation for at least six weeks.
“This is one of those things that can be very divisive and I don’t want to see that happen,” Apollo Bay’s Cr Frank Buchanan said.
“I can’t remember a very, very clear message that’s been passed to me over a three-day period,” he said.
Cr Brian Crook said councillors had missed an opportunity to gather further feedback and potentially create a $165,000-a-year fund for Apollo Bay.
“I just think the onus is on the councillors supporting this amendment to find us $165,000 a year from other streams, because that’s what we’re saying no to here,” he said.