Update 16 December 2014: Port Stephens Council delivers on a Christmas promise for car parks
Hot on the heels of the announcement that the Nelson Bay Coles Supermarket is to close on 09 November 2014 we now get the News that the Donald street multi story Car park will close on 05 November as well.
Examiner 30 November 2014: Difficult Times For Nelson Bay CBD
Council Media Release: HERE Potential Lease sites: 35-39 Donald St. 9-11 Government Road
Council Media Release: Car Park Closure Location Map
This will have a devastating effect on parking in Nelson Bay CBD once the fence goes up around the Woolworths Construction site, and all but the ground level parking is closed at Donald Street. TRRA will be attending a ‘Business Breakfast’ tomorrow morning to gauge the Business Association’s reaction to this news. It appears that this will be a long term situation unless Council can lease some alternative land and make it suitable for parking pretty soon.
The timing of these announcements is unfortunate, just before the busy Xmas tourist season. We would like to know how long Council has known about this situation? TRRA has repeatedly asked for better signage and a cleanup of this area in the last six months but there has been a flat no to spending any money on rectifying anything to do with this building. How long has Council been sitting on this issue? We have a letter, signed 31 March 2009 by Carmel Foster, PSC Commercial Property Manager, stating that:“The existing structure in the short term will require substantial maintenance at considerable cost to Council.”
TRRA Inc. has some history with the Council and the Donald Street East Car Park. We made extensive submissions to Council about a proposed Public Private Partnership with Coral Corp Pty. Ltd on the site in 2008. This process had actually started in August 2006. The whole thing came unstuck when the developer insisted on a lot of commercial retail and residential being incorporated into the development to make it viable. When calculations were done by TRRA to include the required off street CBD parking as well, the structure needed to be over 10 stories high which would not have been appropriate for this site. Then the GFC came along and the whole thing was put in the too hard basket.
TRRA Inc. also has major concerns about the frittering away of section 94 funds by this Council on small projects. We had a building boom here in the Bay 5 to 7 years ago and substantial funds were contributed by developers at the time. These funds should have been earmarked for major community infrastructure, related to those DAs, and been used as a basis for applications to Government for grants to support that essential big ticket infrastructure, not spent on elaborate structures to accommodate commercial ventures such as the $8 mil spent on surf clubs. We support Surf clubs and their storage and facility needs but we are not sure even they envisaged what they ended up with.
Where are the section 94 funds now? a lot of it was wasted on commercial ventures and Councillors small pet projects, now it is all gone. The foreshore work at Nelson and Shoal Bay is an exception but that was peanuts in the overall scheme of things.
The only piece of good news is that one enterprising business has seen the opportunity presented and looks set to cash in, if the customers can find a park!
Examiner 29 October 2014: Pub To fill Grocer Gap At Nelson Bay