THE more things change, the more they stay the same – at least that’s the way it seems when it comes to the controversy over plans for Nowra’s multi-storey car park.
Trawling through the archives yesterday we chanced upon a headline from the Shoalhaven & Nowra News from January 1993. Its headline: ‘Opinion divided on multi-storey carpark’.
Twenty years on, and the headline still stands.
On one side of the divide are the residents of Berry Court, the mid-century apartment block on Berry Street, who have resisted the intrusion of a slab sided neighbour on their boundary since it was first mooted.
Batting on their team is prominent local businessman Chance Hanlon, who weighed into the debate last Friday and followed up his foray with a letter to the editor today (see page 10). Mr Hanlon has argued that the Berry-Worrigee streets site favoured by council was a quick fix in the scramble to secure funds from the $100 million Restart Illawarra pot of money. He wrote that Egans Lane or Stewart Place were much more appropriate sites that would connect to retail spaces.
At a community forum on the three Shoalhaven projects shortlisted for further consideration in Nowra on Monday night, the car park proposal was clearly the least favoured, according to Kiama MP Gareth Ward, who chaired the gathering.
The three shortlisted proposals were the car park, road works at South Nowra to enable access to Flinders Estate and a special education centre for children with disabilities at the UOW Shoalhaven Campus to be run by Noah’s Ark.
“There were around 60 in attendance, most of who were in favour of the Noah’s Ark proposal,” Mr Ward said.
“There were a number of residents whom also attended to indicate their opposition to the proposed location of the new car park on the corner of Berry and Worrigee streets.
“Their objection was to the impact on their amenity and the impact that may have on their properties, which is understandable given they would be next to this proposed facility.”
Yesterday, the Shoalhaven Business Chamber weighed into the argument with a media release in support of the car park proposal.
“The chamber’s preference is for a major development in conjunction with a developer which includes parking,” chamber president Warren Seccombe said.
“In the absence of this investment the chamber supports the decision made by Shoalhaven City Council for the Berry-Worrigee streets all-day multi-level car park as providing the parking needs for the community beyond 2015.”
Mr Seccombe listed several reasons for the chamber’s backing of council’s plan, including the assessment that Stewart Place was too valuable for a car park and the construction of such a facility there would disrupt CBD businesses. He also said the Berry-Worrigee streets site was the least expensive option.
Reader comments on southcoastregister.com.au are to date generally opposed to council’s favoured option.