Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

METER MATES STOP TICKETS Caloundra Traders Make Their Point on Meters; Caloundra Business Owners Pull out the Coins for Customer Parking

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

METER MATES STOP TICKETS Caloundra Traders Make Their Point on Meters; Caloundra Business Owners Pull out the Coins for Customer Parking

Article excerpt

Byline: Kathy Sundstrom

CALOUNDRA business owners have donned sashes and taken to the streets to top up the only parking meters in the entire region.

But they weren't dressed in bikinis and Akubra hats, like the iconic meter maids on the Gold Coast.

Caloundra's "meter mates" dressed in streetwear to top up the meters they believe are affecting their bottom line.

Bulcock Street Traders spokeswoman Selina Smith, the owner of a swimwear business in the street, said there were no parking meters "in Maroochydore or Maleny, so why Caloundra?"

THE traders, combined with the Caloundra branch of the Labor Party, formed the "meter mates" to patrol the streets for two hours on Saturday mornings.

The Labor Party's Caloundra branch president Jason Hunt helped spearhead the campaign.

"Recently we collected a petition with over 2500 signatures supporting the removal of paid parking from Bulcock Street," Mr Hunt said.

"The removal of parking meters would be a stimulus to local businesses who just want to keep operating and providing important services to their customers."

Ms Smith said the parking meters were an issue the traders had been trying to raise with the council "for years".

"We have a constant argument with the council to get rid of them, but they will not listen to us," she said.

"We want to make people aware we are not in favour of meters - it is out of our hands.

"We've had customers (who received fines) saying they will not be coming back to Caloundra.

"It's awful because we don't want the meters either. We are caught.

"This is our way of protesting. We are getting volunteers to go up and down the street and top the meters up.

"We hope to run it every weekend until the school holidays."

Ms Smith said the traders did not believe parking meters were the sole problem behind the main street's slump in trade. …

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