Deputy Mayor, Cr Craig Doyle told guests at the Gosford Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting held on Wednesday, November 3, at Gosford RSL, “If you don’t love it then leave it.” when referring to those whom he considers “knockers of developing Gosford City”.
This disturbing and irate outburst did very little to help the debate on the issue of Gosford Council’s purchase of Gosford Town Shopping Centre.
Of major concern to those running a business in Gosford is that of staff car parking.
Geoff Ball of GR Ball and Associates in Gosford, stated it cost his business over $5000 per annum for his staff to come to work and park their cars in Baker St car park.
Yet council proposes to give 400-odd parking spots to commuters free of charge in Gosford Town Centre while he still has to pay.
The contribution to the CBD from commuters is minimal while staff members working in Gosford tend to spend and shop in the city.
Where is the sense in providing free parking for commuters and not those working in the CBD?
The Centre will be closed off once council takes possession at the end of this year and used exclusively as a car park.
After this, council will seek expressions of interest from parties to invest in the centre.
Gosford City Council General Manager, Mr Wilson stated that, once in possession, the council will consider proposals that add to the vibrancy of the city centre and have minimal cost.
In the meantime, Council is investigating options to install a lift to the car park on the exterior of the building, as well as providing access to parking via the fire stair and ramp on the northern side of the building.
A question was asked as to whether the acquisition will help to revitalise Gosford and Council’s short answer was no.
Rather, the purchase is an investment in the city’s future and will provide parking for activities that will revitalise Gosford.
This, council believes, is a step in the right direction.
It was interesting to hear council’s view confirming that additional car parking spaces will be provided to commuters and the general public.
However, no additional spaces are being planned.
All car parking spaces in the Centre are currently used and no arrangement is in motion to provide additional spaces.
Member for Robertson, Deborah O’Neil, after a meeting with commuters, acknowledged the choice of the Gosford Town Centre purchase for commuter car parking was not the best option, especially women who park and ride.
Female commuters have a security concern when returning from working in Sydney and having to walk to the Centre where their cars are stationed, particularly outside daylight hours.
Gosford Chamber has previously suggested to Council that Baker St car park would be a more suitable location for commuters while the Centre car park could free up street parking for customers and staff of the city’s business operators.
John Phillips, owner of Phillips Pharmacy, asked of the impact closing the centre would have on unemployment and is concerned that existing businesses are unable to relocate to other premises in town.
In answering, Peter Wilson suggested this was likely to happen anyway because the centre, as a retail operation, had already failed with no-one showing interest in buying the centre as a going concern.
Phillips countered with the argument that it was not the centre which had failed, but its management that was at fault.
Gosford Chamber continues its concern over other vacant buildings in Gosford and promises to consult with both the business community and Council on all future plans for Gosford Town Centre.
Emotions aside, it can be considered this debate is far from over.
Gosford City remains poised for development and is still one of the best spots on the Coast for it.
What is not wanted is another Spurbest drama and more derelict buildings in town.
8 Nov 2010