NOT HAPPY: Brian Hedge said the Western Downs Regional Council made the wrong call removing CBD parking meters.
NOT HAPPY: Brian Hedge said the Western Downs Regional Council made the wrong call removing CBD parking meters. Michael Doyle

Parking meters to disappear from CBD

THERE is good news for Dalby shoppers with the Western Downs Regional Council deciding to remove ageing parking meters from the CBD.

The council faced a call to either replace 204 old meters, at cost of about $450,000, or remove them.

It canvassed CBD business ahead of the decision.

From Monday, shoppers can park for free, though there will be time limits, ranging from 15 minutes to two hours.

But not every business owner is happy.

Brian Hedge has run his sports store in the CBD for almost four decades and said the decision was short-sighted.

"The biggest trouble is the council still has to police the parking limits," he said.

"It will still have someone walking around the streets marking tires on a time limit."

Mr Hedge is concerned there will be cost to ratepayers to employ an inspector while the council has done itself out of much-needed revenue.

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To date, shoppers were paying about 20 cents per hour.

In Mr Hedge's view, it was an insignificant amount that had not discouraged shoppers from parking in the CBD.

He suggested the council raised the parking fee to $1 per hour.

"These days I don't think a dollar would matter to a lot of people," he said.

Western Downs councillor for economic development Councillor Donna Ashurst backed the decision.

"One thing that has come through loud and clear is that business houses want car parks available for their customers, and in return, customers want the convenience of having a car park near the shop or business house they're visiting," she said.

"The council felt that customers continuing to pay small change into meters was no longer having a positive outcome for the town centre.

"A car being parked all day in a signed parking bay will still be a no-go."

The first parking meters were installed in 1967.