Teamwork on parking problem

QUEANBEYAN City Councillors teamed up on Wednesday night to confront the issue of parking in the upper Crawford Street shopping precinct, where the opening of Kmart has stretched the already limited number of car parks on offer.

Councillor Sue Whelan initiated the discussion with a notice of motion calling for Council to investigate the logistics of building a multi-level carpark on Council land behind Bill Lilley Mitsubishi on Crawford Street.

Mayor Tim Overall added an additional motion in which Council staff will negotiate dedicated car parking for Woolworths and Riverside Plaza staff at the nearby 322-space Collett Street carpark, thus freeing up additional spaces for shoppers.

Cr Whelan told

the Queanbeyan Age

that the increase of traffic to the precinct with the recent opening of Kmart and the Post Office had stretched parking resources at the site to crisis point.

"My objective is to get a car park or at least start the discussion about what we can do about parking in the city, because it's not going to get any better," Cr Whelan said.

"If we want the city to grow, then we have to be prepared to look at providing decent car parking."

However in the most co-operative and wide-ranging discussion conducted by the new council so far, various other councillors modified the concept, eventually approving the motion but without prescribing a location for the carpark in advance.

The best location for the multi-level carpark, if the concept is deemed viable in the Council investigation, would be determined by specialist traffic analysts.

Mayor Tim Overall estimated the construction costs of a multi-level carpark at around $6-7 million.

Queanbeyan City Council has levied $526,000 in financial contributions from developers over recent years in lieu of the 62 required parking spaces at the site, due to a lack of available space on site.

Kmart, the GP Super Clinic and the Post Office have all provided less than the required amount of car spaces for their respective businesses, and made up the shortfall in financial contributions to Council's parking reserve. 

In Kmart's case, no extra parking spaces were provided on site.

Cr Brian Brown, who supported the investigation into a multi-level carpark, said the problem of scarce parking had been one "entirely of Council's own making."

"Quite a lot of car parks have just been given away to businesses. When you say 'we'll let you off 10 car parks here, or seven car parks there', before you know it you're down 30 or 60 carparks,"  he said. 

However deputy mayor Peter Bray said it was "not so much about giving away car parks as [the number of] new businesses coming in."

Councillors passed the motion unanimously.

Mayor Overall's motion to negotiate staff parking with business owners and relocate staff parking to Collett St was also supported.

Cr Overall said the move could generate around 80 additional spaces at Woolworths and Riverside Plaza.

"A relocation or these staff restricted car spaces from the current Woolworths carpark and the Riverside Plaza carpark, corner Morisset and Collett Streets, to the Council-owned Collett Street car park would free up around 80 car spaces for shoppers and customers," Cr Overall said.

"This initiative is in addition to work which is currently underway to provide increased car parking in Antill Street in the immediate vicinity of the Post Office and the Medical Super Clinic.

"Council has included funding in its capital works program in the 2012-13 Operational Plan to undertake construction for increased parking spaces in Antill St. Council engineers are currently working with consultants to develop a design for the area, including the number of carparks it will provide, and this will be presented to Council when complete," he said.

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