Expressions of Interest closed last Friday (12/6/15) with Council receiving 12 for the design and construct of a smaller car park under Manly Oval (470 spaces against the original proposal of 760 spaces); and three submissions for the redevelopment of the Whistler Street site.
Following a motion moved by Clr Candy Bingham, Council resolved that all submissions would be made public, and put on exhibition for 28 days.
A report is expected to come back to Council's September Ordinary meeting for further debate.
While, of course, you would expect a large number of EOIs for the construction of the oval car park, given the Council (ie ratepayes) will be taking the full risk for this project, many are querying why the General Manager issued the EOI for a smaller, 470 space car park. The original Manly2015 Plan, and all the due diligence reports, were based on a larger car park which was to provide additional parking for Manly's CBD.
"The smaller car park will only just replace what we already have, expect in a less convenient location", said Clr Bingham. The changes needed to accommodate the oval car park and the redevelopment of the Whistler Street site, will see a around 100 parking spaces removed from the streets", she added.
Although the Manly Chamber of Commerce has always publicly supported a car park under the oval, President Mark Stanley said a smaller car park was never on the table during those discussions.
So why has Council requested a smaller car park in its EOIs? One would wonder if it might have something to do with the fact that Council has claimed all along that the car park would not cost more than $34 million?
As part of its Manly2015 Plan, Manly Council's notification to businesses in Whistler Street, Sydney Road and Central Avenue last week of its proposed staged closure of Sydney Road from Belgrave Street to The Corso, and the creation of a cul-de-sac at Central Avenue, was met with concern by affected retailers and apartment owners.
In the meantime, businesses and property owners in Raglan Street, including St Mary's Church and school, are challenging the Council over its current changes to Raglan Street, which include the removal of parking and the lack of a pedestrian crossing in this section of the street. (From Belgrave Street to the Steyne).
The Chamber of Commerce has written to Council requesting the delay of the proposed closure of Sydney Road from Belgrave to Whistler Street (which will become Gateway Plaza), because it would effectively cut off easy access to the existing Whistler Street car park. The Chamber stated that whilst in the past its members have supported the Gateway Plaza the current concept plans do not include the additional parking beneath Manly Oval. The concept concept therefore merely removes parking options and will ultimately increase congestion within the Manly CBD. The Chamber continues, however, to support the overall Manly2015 Plan and the building of a 760 space car park under Manly Oval.
According to Good for Manly Councillor, Candy Bingham, many of the proposed closures are premature.
"The final decisions to build a car park under the oval or to redevelop the Whistler Street car park site have not been made. Closing Sydney Road from Belgrave to Whistler street will simply add to traffic congestion and cause confusion to motorists visiting Manly and looking for parking. It's a crazy idea" , she said.
"With the spectre of an amalgamation hanging over their heads and the current Council term running out supposedly in September 2016, it would seem that those ruling the Council are determined to push through their controversial Manly2015 Plan, despite ongoing criticism of lack of consultation and transparency of the process", Clr Bingham added.
In summary the current Sydney Road project includes:
At present the council is proposing to commence work on closures of Sydney Road in October 2015 - right in the peak tourist time. Again, shop-keepers are not happy!
You can view the Council's plans for Sydney Road below:
Larger Councils are considered the starting point for any assessment being made by IPART on whether council's are 'Fit for The Future' according to its report released last week.
As reported by Anne Davis in the Sydney Morning Herald on 5th June 2015:
"Councils have been told by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) that larger councils of between 250,000 to 500,000 residents as outlined in an earlier independent report into local government will be the "starting point" in assessing whether the council is fit for the future.
IPART last week released its final assessment methodology and clarified what it meant by "sufficient scale and capacity".
While it said it was prepared to entertain other submissions, it said: "We will be guided by the population estimates for the particular local government areas included in the Independent Local Government Review Panel's recommended options. It said the onus was on councils to demonstrate how their alternatives were as good or better if they did not go with the proposed merger clusters outlined by the independent panel....."
This could be a problem for Manly & Pittwater Councils which are actively resisting the One Big Northern Beaches Council being pushed by Warringah and previously recommended by the Samson Report, an independent report commissioned by the State Government. Manly currently has a population of around 44,000 and Pittwater 60,000. Both fall well short of the recommended starting point of 250,000 which would be achieved by the three Northern Beaches Councils merging.
Meanwhile, there is speculation that it is unlikely the State Government will be able to achieve its amalgamation agenda in time for the next Council elections due September 16. This leaves current Councillors faced with the likehood that their existing term of four years may be extended for a further 12 months, at least.
With the approval of its Centre for Child Health and Learning recently by the Joint Regional Planning Panel, the Royal Far West (RFW) will shortly launch its Caring for Country Kids Appeal to secure funds for the building, and future service delivery.
The new Centre for Child Health and Learning will be erected on the site of the existing Elsie Hill Building in Wentworth Street, adjacent to RFW’s guest accommodation in the historic Drummond House. No building or reconstruction will take place on RFW’s oceanfront land under this Stage One development.
When completed, the new purpose-built Centre will replace the old Medical Centre on the oceanfront site.
It is understood that the NSW Government provided a $10m grant towards the faciliy, with a proviso that no hotel be built on the waterfront land as part of the Stage Two development.
The proposed hotel was a controversial part of the RWF original plans to redevelop their site, and was strongly opposed by the general community. Since then the RFW has been working closely with the community in an endeavour to create a masterplan for the site, which would be considered more community-based.
Currently the Royal Far West’s clinical programs support 1,500 rural families each year and the dedicated specialist clinical team delivers over 27,000 occasions of service. The new Centre for Child Health and Learning will enable the Royal Far West to reach as many as 15,000 families in the future providing services such as Tele-speech and Tele-mental health using advanced internet services.
It is envisaged that the building of the new Centre will take around 18 months, and will be completed in early 2017.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.