“Recent media coverage highlights the need for decisive action to be taken to help solve the 20-year-old problem of inadequate Hospital parking provision”, said Mr Bloyce. “I have already announced my intention to construct low-rise multi-deck paid car parking stations in key areas of congestion across the Coast. Today I announce that the first of this series of car parks will be constructed on the Council-owned land of the existing Council Car Park opposite the Hospital.”
Consideration of site areas and indicative costs indicates that a 4-level car park over the existing 3,738 square metre site (including the block of shops on the corner of Blackall Terrace and Hospital Road) might provide parking for about 300-320 cars at a cost of approximately $8 million. To put that in perspective, the estimate is less than 4% of Council’s current annual capital works expenditure budget.
“It is time to stop talking and bite the bullet. The problems here are well documented and widely acknowledged. Continual buck-passing of responsibility for this issue, the escalating fining of staff and visitors and the inability of the Labor State Government and sitting Councillor to come up with a workable solution have led to an untenable situation”, said Mr Bloyce.
“Discussions will be held with the owners of the shops in front of the existing Council car park and as a result there could be a component of ground-level retail or commercial space in the redevelopment to help offset operating costs. Such space would provide an attractive street level frontage”, said Mr Bloyce.
Mr Bloyce said he envisaged that casual parking spaces located on lower levels could be free for the first hour or two, and then increase progressively for longer durations. The top deck would be reserved for all- day car parking for Hospital precinct workers at a discounted rate, with 24-hour key card access. In addition the car park would incorporate security surveillance cameras to ensure public safety.
“It is also my intention to hold discussions with the incoming State Government and push for the construction of an above-ground, all-weather walkway across Hospital Road, paid for by the State Government, to link the new car park directly into the Hospital”, said Mr Bloyce. “I am sure the Member for Nicklin will be supportive of that proposal.”
Mr Bloyce said Council should fast-track an expression of interest process to determine the level of commercial interest in the market place for either a build/own/operate/transfer (BOOT) scheme, or alternatively a public-private partnership approach. After the public EOI, a number of short-listed applicants would be invited to tender.
Council’s contribution would be to provide the site, with the community’s interest being served by leasing the completed car park back to the Council for say a period of 10 years with a right of renewal for a further period. Essentially, the Council would be able to have a multi-deck car park built on land owned by the Council, without the need to find finance and with the ability to retain the operational management rights and income on a lease-back arrangement.
“A partnership arrangement with the private sector is a sensible course of action to pursue in the first instance”, Mr Bloyce said. “But if that should prove too difficult or time-consuming, the fall-back option is for Council to build this facility itself”.