WHILE the majority of councillors voted in favour of the Berry-Worrigee streets site for Nowra’s multi-story car park, the decision has split the community in a number of directions.
There are those who agree with the Berry Street proposal, those who want the car park in another location and those who don’t think it’s needed at all.
Cr Amanda Findley voted against the recommendation that council determine the location for a multi-storey car park.
She said the state government should have allowed councils and community groups more time to explore projects that could maximise jobs and growth.
Cr Findley was surprised to see the car park shortlisted over the 12 other projects council submitted to the Restart Illawarra Fund.
“We had projects with a much smaller price tag that would have created much more employment than a car park,” she said.
“The agriculture park in Berry and the aquaculture park in Ulladulla were two that come to mind.”
She said the lobbying by CBD Action group created a position earlier this year where council put the car park in the long-term financial plan 10 years out from now.
“We can’t just move projects forward 10 years just because a pot of gold lands at our door.
“On top of that council is having to contribute $5 million toward it.
“That means $5 million worth of other projects would go on the backburner.”
Cr Findley said there had not been enough serious thought given to other parking solutions, including shuttle buses and parking meters.
“People say those things won’t work but there’s a lot of vacant space down at the all-day car park on Bridge Road,” she said.
“Of all the daydreams presented I think the money from the fund could be spent on far better projects and there could have been an opportunity to create wealth for the whole of the Shoalhaven.
“The Flinders Road entry and truck rest stop is actually a really good project.
“It will result in more people investing money in the job creation lands at Flinders Estate.”
Judith Mitchell’s mother Olga Cowling has lived in a unit on the top floor of Berry Court, the unit block next to the chosen site for the multi-storey car park, for 17 years.
Ms Mitchell, who was at council for the extraordinary meeting last Tuesday, was shocked at the decision.
“This was a really good opportunity for council to do something with Stewart Place and have money from the Restart fund to help pay for it,” she said.
“It baffles me that they chose not to take that opportunity.
“There was a lot of discussion about it on the night and the argument was going either way at some point.
“It remains to be seen whether it was the right decision but there are an awful lot of people who don’t think it was,” she said.
Resident fears for health, safety
JOY Montague, pictured, has only lived at Berry Court for six months and has already seen evidence that suggests a multi-storey car park will be a magnet for trouble.
Ms Montague has two concerns: one is for her and her fellow residents’ health; the other is for their safety.
“Carbon monoxide poisoning is something I worry about in relation to a multi-storey car park going right next to where I live,” she said.
“I’m not in good health. I moved here for a healthy lifestyle, fresh air and less stress.”
She also fears an increase in the already unacceptable levels of antisocial behaviour in the car park on weekends.
“At about 2am on Friday and Saturday mornings there are people in the car park making noise, playing loud music, drinking and fighting,” she said.
“I’m not game to go down and tell them to stop.
“So that sort of thing is already happening. If we build a car park for them I can only see it getting worse.”