The proposed 230-space Oak Flats commuter car park is a step closer after a deal was finally reached between Shellharbour City Council and the NSW government over the sale of land for the car park.
Shellharbour councillors agreed to sell 1.38ha of council land on Pioneer Drive near the Oak Flats station to Transport for NSW for $1.58 million in a confidential session on Tuesday night.
A portion of the site in the negotiation is to be retained by the council as operational land.
The funds from the land sale will be put towards the $57 million Shellharbour City Hub project.
In May last year, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said a new $5.7 million car park would be built on the northern side of the station at Oak Flats.
Car spaces at the existing commuter car park have been at a premium since the opening of the Lake Illawarra Local Area Command police headquarters in 2011, adjacent to the train station. Shellharbour mayor Marianne Saliba said the sticking point was that the state government didn’t want to buy all of the land.
‘‘It was like saying we want to buy your house but we don’t like the kitchen and won’t pay for that,’’ Cr Saliba said.
Cr Saliba said the council’s valuation of the land was closer to $2million, however a deal was reached whereby the NSW government would purchase the land needed and take control of the existing commuter car park, which currently costs the council $30,000 a year to maintain.
Cr Saliba said the portion of land retained by the council does lend itself to passive or active recreation.
‘‘Overall we are pleased with the outcome,’’ Cr Saliba said.
‘‘I know that our council officers worked hard to get an agreement that would benefit our community.
‘‘They were not prepared to sell Shellharbour City ratepayers short.’’
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said the money for the car park had been allocated.
‘‘It was the Labor government that built a police station without any car parking ... I look forward to getting on with this project ASAP.’’
The project involves upgrading the bus shelter, an extension of the existing car park and a new car park on the northern side of Oak Flats Station, adjoining the bus interchange.
Construction begins this year and is expected to be completed in 2014.
Transport Access Program projects for the Illawarra include easy access upgrades across the region including Albion Park, Austinmer, Dapto, Gerringong and Waterfall; interchange upgrades at Oak Flats and Picton; new commuter car parks at Kiama, Moss Vale and Oak Flats; and the new Shell Cove Station.