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‘Councils are supposed to be a service provider, not a revenue generator’ – Sinn Féin

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Following the debate last night that car parking charges throughout the Borough are to stay the same Sinn Féin’s group leader on the Council, Cara McShane, said:

“In the absence of meaningful and localised consultation, Sinn Féin remain opposed to the introduction of seasonal car-parking charges at various harbour locations across the district.

“Councils are supposed to be a service provider, not a revenue generator.

“Similar proposals were brought forward two years ago, and we were the only party who united in opposition to the introduction of seasonal car-parking charges then. Given that no substantive consultation has taken place since, this remains our position. It is welcoming now to see other Councillors agree with our position.

“This is not to do with the nominal payment being requested, but rather the lack of consideration that has been given to specific areas. We did not want to cherry-pick but requested that the proposals all be put on hold, until there was a full analysis and appraisal carried out of the various sites by District Electoral Area. A ‘one size fits all approach’ will not work.

“In Ballintoy for example, there are a total of only 46 car-parking spaces. There are major safety concerns already at this site given the logistics, as well as congestion from parked tour buses at the Church of Ireland on the road to the harbour. Introducing charges will only exacerbate the situation. There is just not the space for two vehicles to easily pass through the ‘S’ bends, along with pedestrians who get off buses in large numbers at the Church. The implications of people parking on the harbour road itself to avoid the charges, I fear will only lead to a disaster at this scenic location.

“We are fortunate to live in a scenic coastal area and we appreciate that it takes a lot of public money to maintain facilities.

“However, while pushing through proposals to plug a gap in finances, the impact on residents, communities and tourism has not been considered.”ENDS

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