A meeting held at council chambers on Thursday, September 16 gave attendees an insight into the reason behind why council believes Gosford Town Centre is ideal for a commuter car park.
Council stated that as street parking was a problem in Gosford city, the commuter car park would provide an extra 600 car parking spaces, 400 of which will provide free parking to commuters, according to Gosford Chamber of Commerce.
Council has purchased the property for $11 million, $7 million of which is from a commonwealth government grant promised by Belinda Neal on her election to the seat of Robertson in 2007, the remaining $4 million was funded by council itself.
Gosford Council plan to take vacant possession by December 31 and all retail operators are required to vacate the building by this date.
John Tilston, Council’s Economic Development advisor said that the complex is running at a financial loss as it currently stands.
“The Financial Review on September 7 reported that by late 2008, the complex was losing $1.2 million per year, or $100,000 per month.
“While we would all love to see lots of activity within it, the reality is that the Gosford town Centre Shopping Centre has been on the market for three years now and if a commercially viable and financially sustainable option had been identified, the property would have sold long ago,” said Mr Tilston.
Council’s director of Environment and Planning, Colleen Worthy-Jennings said that extensive research has been undertaken for the Town Centre to proceed as a car park.
“All investigations regarding council’s conversion of the Town Centre into a community car park were carried out with due diligence.
“The building is structurally sound to occupy a 600 space car park.
“We have received professional advice that states a minimum of $21 million needs to be invested into the property for it to be effectively converted into a commercials structure,” said Ms Worthy-Jennings.
Mayor of Gosford City, Cr Laurie Maher said that it was the community feedback that fundamentally led to the decision of a car park conversion.
“When the draft Masterplan was released, the Gosford Challenge team received a large amount of feedback that the Plan did not address the need for increased parking in the City Centre.
“Council was only staying true to their residents by investing in its city when it incorporated the provision of an extra 600 parking spaces,” said Cr Maher.
Other objections voiced at the meeting included opinions on commuter safety and security and concern that council may be adding to the number of derelict buildings within the CBD.
The Agenda newsletter
10 Nov 2010
Gosford Chamber of Commerce