A windfall of nearly $200,000 to the Blue Mountains council's coffers will go begging after the council voted to delay Echo Point parking fees until November 1 this year.
A last-minute intervention from the mayor altered plans to bring in the new parking charges, due to concerns it might impact tourism.
Last month council voted to accept changes to the parking system, which would limit permits to residents and businesses within a few blocks of the popular tourist area. Those within the precinct could apply for a two-year permit, at a cost of $36. But then Cr Greenhill asked for the new scheme to be delayed while the community recovered from the fires.
Greens Cr Kerry Brown told the February council meeting that she would have liked to have seen the money go to much needed infrastructure and maintenance.
"I think visitors expect to pay for parking," she said. "I don't think it will make any difference to whether or not they visit the Mountains." She added that tourist buses "had had too big a free run already".
But Cr Greenhill said businesses had written to him asking him to delay the scheme in light of recent bushfires and the impact on tourism.
"We've waived the DA [development application] fees, we've waived the tip fees, we've waived the street fees, we've lowered the rent - we are not going to run around and expand user pays parking right now when we are in a period of recovery," the mayor said.
With the exception of Cr Brown, all councillors agreed to delay the scheme, which is expected to bring in $200,000 annually. It will now start on November 1.
Previously all Mountains residents had been eligible for a permit which allowed unlimited parking in the eight-hour zones around the Three Sisters. Council determined that was taking too much parking away from paying customers.
Cr Brown said after the meeting that she supported the new resident permit scheme because "the point was to ensure that people who actually live in those streets aren't being parked out. Currently there are something like 9000 resident parking permits for Echo Point on the loose."
- -with Jennie Curtin