Blue Mountains News
Sensor data shows visitor numbers increasing in town centres
Sensor data, obtained since the implementation of the Citywide Visitor Pay Parking Scheme in July, also shows an increase in the number of visitors to Katoomba town centre over the past three months.
This data coupled with tourism figures which show a 35 per cent increase in visitors to the region since the pandemic – and that Blue Mountains National Park has recently retained its top spot as the most visited national park in NSW – bodes well for recovery in the Blue Mountains after a difficult few years.
Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said: “It is heartening to see that our region is recovering after multiple natural disasters and the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go, and we still have an enormous recovery bill in the City. The Citywide Visitor Pay Parking Scheme is helping to fund the critical-renewal of infrastructure already – but given the $400 million bill – this will take time.
“CEO, Dr Rosemary Dillon, told Councillors this week that without parking income obtained from visitors she would be asking the Council to endorse a special rate rise in the order of around 40%.
“Thankfully, we don’t have to go down that path. This new scheme means that visitors are now contributing to the cost of running our City and helping our World Heritage Area to recover.
“Sensor data in Leura village showed around a 20 per cent increase in visitor numbers over the October long weekend in 2023, compared to 2022. This, and the increase in numbers in Katoomba over three months, is great news.
“Even more importantly, our residents do not have to pay to park.
“Many councils have initiated significant rate rises after the rains – while we have not. We’ve come up with a solution that costs residents nothing, has not impacted business and means no special rate rise during a cost-of-living crisis.
“Before the end of the year I will chair a meeting of our Mayoral Reference Group for Blue Mountains Businesses to discuss the real reasons some shopkeepers are doing it tough, which have nothing to do with meters.
“In saying the above, I note some of the highest vacancy rates reported in the Blue Mountains are actually in places like Springwood, where there are no meters.”
Council recently extended the registration period to apply for parking permits for Blue Mountains residents, ratepayers, businesses and their employees until Friday, 1 December 2023.
- Apply for a permit online. Go to bhere and click on ‘Apply for a Parking Permit’ to start.
- Call the Permit Hotline 1300 322 263 for assistance.
- Visit one of our Customer Contact Centres in Katoomba or Springwood.Please bring vehicle registration papers when visiting our Customer Contact Centres.
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