Paid parking saga at Lismore Hospital is over… for now

The paid parking saga at Lismore Base Hospital is sorted for now after Lismore City Council passed a motion at their meeting on February 9.

Free parking will continue around the Lismore Base Hospital until the new council arrives in September.

But the issue will be brought back within the first month of the new council.

The motion reinstated free parking on Hunter St and Dalziel St in the hospital precinct, and will waive restrictions on parking on Weaver St, Laurel Ave and McKenzie St.

Councillor Nancy Casson said she felt a need to provide indefinite free parking due to there being "no time-frame" on COVID-19.

"Every three months, these people, they're hanging on whether the council is going to vote for them, the pandemic, we don't have an end to it," she said.

Cr Elly Bird spoke against the motion, as it went against the "fundamental need" to address the "financial sustainability" at Lismore City Council.

"It is not because I don't support our healthcare workers and it is not because I don't support our response to COVID-19," she said.

"I acknowledge that the amount seems insignificant but small, insignificant amounts consistently add up to larger impacts and as an organisation we need to be making consistent financial decisions."

Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said the move would benefit more than just health workers who he labelled the "unsung heroes" of COVID-19.

"Local residents who visit the hospital - who are often stressed and struggling with illness and disease symptoms - have appreciated this scheme," he said.

"Free street parking makes sense both as a goodwill measure, and as a strategy to encourage visits for testing which helps stop the spread of COVID."

Mr Hayes warned that the Union has no plans to relent on the issue and will continue to advocate for free parking for health care workers, as they are not to be treated like "cash cows".

"The HSU intends to keep this issue on the agenda as the community approaches the September council electionsm," he said.

"We will campaign vigorously to make free parking permanent for health workers."

The amended motion passed with only councillor Elly Bird voting against, while councillor Adam Guise was absent from that vote.

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