OPPOSED: In her personal opinion, Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash does not support a multi-storey car park on the corner of Berry and Worrigee streets.SHOALHAVEN City Council’s development application for a multi-million dollar, five-level car park on the corner of Berry and Worrigee streets in Nowra is to ensure the project is shovel ready if any funding became available.
Mayor Joanna Gash said the DA had been lodged and would be considered by the Joint Regional Planning Panel, the consent authority for this project.
The DA was submitted on June 12.
“Lodging the DA was to see if we would get approval,” Cr Gash said.
“If any funding became available we would be ready to go.
“It is now being prepared to go before council and will go on public exhibition for 40 days.
“Businesses and residents in the area have been notified.
“We always said we would get to this stage of having the project shovel ready.
“There has been a lot of water under the bridge but we are just doing what we said we would do,” Cr Gash said.
However, secretary of the Berry Court Owners Corporation John Watt said the proposal was still in the wrong place.
“It’s the wrong site, it belongs in Stewart Place and it’s far too big,” Mr Watt said.
He said the DA was no surprise to him. He had worked with council staff on a shadow diagram, but still believed the building should not go ahead where the proposal has it.
“Once we get a multi-storey car park in Egans Lane that will take any pressure off parking in Nowra anyway.
“At least with this DA being lodged we will have another opportunity to write a submission against the proposal,” he said.
Cr Gash said in her personal opinion she was not in favour of the car park.
“The question has to be asked, is this still what the area needs? Or are there other things that should take priority?
“There is more car parking now in the CBD, the Egans Lane project will change parking again, the shopping centre at Vincentia makes another change. The dynamics of the whole CBD is changing.
“Those are my personal opinions.
“People say we all vote together in council but we don’t. Council is a democracy and everyone has their right to be heard. I’ve been known to change my mind on many occasions.
“But we made a resolution that we would do this car park DA and now it’s in.
“This project is not in the budget and we will definitely be looking for the majority of funding towards it,” she said.
Cr Andrew Guile said he was confused by Cr Gash’s personal comment that she did not support the car park.
“The mayor said [in her personal opinion] she doesn’t support the car park at the corner of Berry and Worrigee streets in Nowra and yet since at least 2012 council has had a policy in support of it.
“Should we now expect two media conferences from the Mayor – one with the corporate position of council then one from the Mayor’s alter ego expressing the contrary view?
“Given the availability of federal funding through the Stronger Regions program, we need to have some applications of sufficient detail to have merit.
“Unless we can show potential investors in the CBD of Nowra that we have strategies to cope with increased economic activity in Nowra, we will not gain their confidence.
“The CBD Masterplan is a part of that, the Riverfront is a part of that and a practical expression of it would be an approved DA for this car park.
“That does not suggest for one moment that a multi-storey car park will solve all the problems of Nowra. It certainly won’t go near addressing the retail issues and it is not meant to do that. It may not even eventuate in the form that is intended, but that doesn’t mean that this is a futile exercise. It is another step of progress for the Nowra CBD,” Cr Guile said.
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