Six months ago a multistorey all-day car park for the Nowra CBD was Shoalhaven Council’s major project seeking funding in the Restart Illawarra program.
It has now been revealed council has not even included the multi-million dollar project in its next three-year financial plan, something which has angered the Nowra CBD Car Parking Development Committee.
Instead council said funding had been allocated to a 10-year financial plan.
“Placing the Nowra CBD all-day car park into the 10-year financial plan was a hopeless decision and ranks with some of the great disasters of past councils,” according to committee spokesperson Lance Sewell.
A committee deputation met recently with Mayor Joanna Gash, deputy mayor John Wells and several councillors and was advised council had not allocated funds for the car park in its three-year financial plan.
“Council has decided to dump the all-day car park into the 10-year financial plan, filing it away to the never never,” Mr Sewell said.
“Six months ago, the car park proposal was the only significant project in the Nowra CBD for which council sought funding in the Restart Illawarra program, albeit unsuccessfully.
“By dumping the parking project, they have destroyed any hope of revitalising the Nowra township and have ensured that working staff, plus shoppers will continue to be fined when caught overstaying their parking time with nowhere else to park.
“That is, of course, if they can find parking in the first place.
“Shops need customers. Customers and staff from our shops and offices need parking.”
Although welcoming the announcement 12 months ago when the car park was originally included in the 10-year plan, Mr Sewell said at the time, “the one thing that must not happen is that council bury this very positive decision under a load of 10-year financial plan paperwork”.
The committee has questioned how the project, which was one of council’s priorities, for which it was willing to allocate $5 million of loan funds for the $11 million project, now seems to have been put on the back burner.
“For Nowra to fulfil its role as the district’s regional centre it needs to be dynamic, modern and service friendly to the public and the district it serves,” Mr Sewell said.
“Parking improvements are needed now, not in 10 years’ time.”
“It is correct there is nothing in the three-year plan, which is out on exhibition at the moment, regarding the multistorey all day car park for the Nowra CBD,” Shoalhaven Council general manager Russ Pigg said.
“When council applied for the Restart Illawarra funding it agreed it would put in a proportion of the funding, $5 million, from loan funds. But when that application fell over and with no additional funding available, council didn’t retain loan funding for the project and it fell out of the current plans.
“So unless some other funding program comes up, and all three tiers of government’s pockets are getting pretty empty, it won’t be on the agenda in the next three years.
“That basically throws the project outside the term of this council.
“Unless this council re-juggles things or changes its priorities sometime over the next two years, it would then be up to the new council to make new decisions.”