Emo­tions ‘run high’ at meet­ing

South Western Times - - News - Kate Field­ing

A fi­nal de­ci­sion on Bun­bury’s park­ing strat­egy was met with anger on Tues­day night when re­tail­ers and one an­gry res­i­dent lashed out at Bun­bury City Coun­cil.

Af­ter four dep­u­ta­tions from emo­tional busi­ness own­ers and more than 30 min­utes of de­bate, the coun­cil voted in favour of keep­ing two-hour free on-street park­ing and for park­ing me­ters to re­main in place.

The 7-4 vote came de­spite a pe­ti­tion be­ing tabled with 4440 sig­na­tures ask­ing the coun­cil to re­move the me­ters.

Re­tail­ers re­sponded in anger dur­ing the coun­cil’s meet­ing where in a packed pub­lic gallery com­ments were yelled at elected mem­bers.

One frus­trated res­i­dent – who did not want to be named and is un­der­stood to live out­side of Bun­bury – let her frus­tra­tions known when she lashed out at Mayor Gary Bren­nan and the coun­cil.

“You sit there and you think that you know ev­ery­thing, but you get free park­ing down stairs and you prob­a­bly go off to Bun­bury Fo­rum to do your shop­ping,” the woman said point­ing at Mr Bren­nan.

Mr Bren­nan tried to in­ter­ject say­ing “this is a cham­ber where we show re­spect” but his com­ments were met with anger from re­tail­ers.

“I’m show­ing re­spect . . . You need to lis­ten, it’s a demo­cratic so­ci­ety and you need to think about that,” the woman said.

The city’s paid park­ing de­bate has lin­gered for sev­eral years and reached boil­ing point last year when re­tail­ers suc­cess­fully lob­bied the coun­cil to trial free tick­eted park­ing.

A mas­sive com­mu­nity en­gage­ment project showed of the 1788 peo­ple who took part, 46.6 per cent wanted the park­ing ar­range­ments to stay as they were and 35.8 per cent wanted me­ters re­moved and on-street park­ing to be free.

Mr Bren­nan told the South Western Times he did not want to pro­vide much fur­ther com­ment on Tues­day night’s in­ci­dent and said it was now time to move on and the coun­cil had lis­tened to both sides of the ar­gu­ment. “Emo­tions run high,” Mr Bren­nan said.

“I spoke to that lady af­ter the meet­ing, we had a good chat and I ex­plained the process we go through which is not eas­ily un­der­stood by peo­ple who aren’t fa­mil­iar with lo­cal gov­ern­ment meet­ing pro­ce­dures.

“Peo­ple who wanted the park­ing me­ters re­moved, they are say­ing that we’re not lis­ten­ing but we are lis­ten­ing to the ma­jor­ity of our com­mu­nity who elect us to rep­re­sent the whole of Bun­bury not just a hand­ful of peo­ple.”

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