Mayor disappointed Nowra CBD car park plan was overlooked

SHOALHAVEN received $2.5 million from the Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure Fund, despite having projects valued at $24 million shortlisted for a slice of the $100 million.

Noah’s Shoalhaven received $1.4 million and road works at South Nowra received $1.1 million.

A proposal Shoalhaven City Council submitted for a multi-storey car park was rejected. 

Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash said the exercise was a funding distribution disaster from a local point of view.

“We got just 3 per cent of the funding yet we have 25 per cent of the population,” she said.

“Given that the Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure Fund was created to drive economic growth and create employment opportunities I am mystified as to why the Shoalhaven, an area with the highest unemployment rate in the region, received such a small cut of the funding.

“The proposed Berry/Worrigee car park would have provided the area with over 600 car parking spaces in close proximity to local businesses, providing the area with a much needed economic stimulus.”

“I am delighted for Noah’s Shoalhaven, but as far as the money for road works into Flinders Estate, that is just state money going to the state government.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t get recognised for trying to rebuild ourselves.”

She said council was prepared to put in $5 million toward the car park.

“That project would have been a great start for the area, now it’s back to square one.”

At the announcement of the funding yesterday Cr Gash made it clear to Minister for the Illawarra John Ajaka that she was not happy.

“He could see how upset I was and made a point of saying he was going to look for more funding and Shoalhaven will be the first cab off the rank.

“I will take up minister’s offer and today I will make an appointment to see him early in the new year.”

South Coast MP Shelley Hancock said the funding initiative would have wider economic and social benefits across the South Coast and Illawarra region.

“Other successful projects range from improved transport links and tourism facilities, through to health facilities, a family support centre and accommodation for people with disabilities,” Mrs Hancock said.

“As well as an estimated 969 direct jobs in total for the 12 projects, there will be at least 647 construction jobs and many more indirect jobs in the local economy.”

She said the money council was awarded would be used to realign the Flinders Road and Princes Highway intersection.

“The South Nowra Industrial precinct currently provides employment for 5500 local residents, or 10 per cent of the Shoalhaven workforce,” Mrs Hancock said.

“These road works will enable better road access to the South Nowra industrial zone and remove current safety issues associated with the turning movement of longer vehicles.

“The South Nowra Industrial precinct has the capacity to provide an additional 15,000 jobs and I am delighted the NSW government is supporting this project, ensuring more efficient access for local businesses,” Mrs Hancock said.

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