Crispin Till

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Community reacts to major parking changes

Cairns Regional Council's decision to make big changes to parking in the CBD has been a hot topic in the community since it was announced last week.

As reported by TropicNow , the new fees and charges will come into effect on January 1 2018.

There has been a huge response online with readers logging onto TropicNow's Facebook page to vent their anger at the move, which includes extending paid parking from 8.30am to 6pm seven days a week.

Many claimed they would no longer visit the CBD, particularly on weekends, while those who need to park in the CBD for work fear the changes will impact their weekly budget. Some even suggested council should introduce parking meters at council's headquarters on Spence St in the staff parking area.

To get a different perspective, TropicNow turned to the national body representing the interests of the industry nationally called Parking Australia.

The group's chief executive Lorraine Duffy said parking management such as those measures put in place by council can ease congestion and ensure that cities remain vibrant places to work and visit.

"Parking changes and charges will generally be controversial in the community," she said.

"If the price of parking is too low then parking spaces will always be full and there will be cars circling looking for spaces and this drives people away from towns and cities.

"There is much research to support the fact that parking pricing and enforcement will facilitate the best use of parking resources and improve the liveability and economic vitality of towns and cities."

When deciding on making the changes, Ms Duffy said Cairns council should have relied on community feedback and undertaken research to assess travel modes, trip purpose, the perception of parking in Cairns, duration of parking and acceptable walking times.

"Cairns has a diverse population of works, residents and holiday makers all with different needs," she said.

"The mechanisms the council is introducing should ensure the availability of convenient, accessible and well located short-stay parking which will only help local businesses.

"It is important that these new parking measures are assessed and re-evaluated and ratepayers and businesses understand that parking revenue funds local improvements and is re-invested back into the community."

TropicNow also approached Cairns Regional Council for comment and has not yet received a response.