Today's Sydney Morning Herald has run an article about resident's concerns over the financial risk associated with the proposed Oval Car Park and raises questions about certain links to the Oval.
See story here - it's worth a read!
Precincts Question the Financial Viability of the Oval Car Park
In a front page story published in the Manly Daily on 13th September, 2014 it is clear that the Car Park proposal is not supported by the Resident Precinct Groups either. See story here
Formal Complaint Lodged with the NSW Ombudsman
The North Harbour Precinct lodged a formal complaint to the NSW Ombudsman on 8th September, 2014 citing "the lack of due process by the General Manager of the Council in providing the precinct residents with information that has been requested by the residents about a Car Park Proposal that is part of the Manly2015 Masterplan as well as not consulting with the residents about their views." Visit their website for more information.
A tender has now been issued for the construction of the new indoor swim centre on the site of the Andrew Boy Charlton Swim Centre. Work is expected to commence within the next few months.
In the meantime the outdoor pools have reopened after the winter break.
As part of the new development, the existing 50 metre outdoor pool is to remain, however a development application has been approved for the existing 25 metre pool to be converted into a polo pool, once funding is secured.
Locals are watching the construction costs of the new facility, which was originally budgeted at $15 million. After the tender process and including Architect's fees, the price tag is already closer to $19 million.
The new parking arrangements in nearby Kenneth Road, which have now been changed three times, continue to raise safety concerns. The Manly Traffic Committee is to consider whether a 40 kpm limit zone should be introduced.
The future of the Manly Hospital site became clearer this week when Manly Council announced approval had now been given for the site to be zoned for health and environmental use following 2.5 years of negotiation with the Department of Planning.
This will ensure that the site can't be sold for residential, hotel or business-related activities once the hospital closes in 2018, following the opening of the new Northern Beaches Hospital in Frenchs Forest.
Suitable uses under the new zoning SP2 Health Services Facility include aged care, rehabilitation, mental health facility, and general medical services.
The land surrounding the built up site, has been zoned E2 Environmental Conservation. This is particularly important because it now means that the land below the cliff line at the rear of Collins Flat cannot be built on and is protected from any kind of development.
The staff at Manly Council are to be congratulated for achieving an excellent outcome for the community.
An advisory group reporting to Local Member and Premier, Mike Baird, is seeking input from locals on what they would like to happen to the site. You can complete their survey here.
One of the options as part of the Manly 2015 Plan is to demolish the 18 year old library and rebuild a new community facility on the site.
However, at a recent workshop Manly Councillors decided to support the option of maintaining the existing building, adding two storeys, and opening up the ground floor level to interact with the plaza.
“The current building is an award-winning design by Architect Feiko Bouman. It is my understanding that the building can be modified to meet future requirements, which is a far more cost-effective approach,” Clr Candy Bingham said.
As part of a series of workshops to consider the high-risk $34million Oval Car Park Proposal, Clr Bingham, who does not support the construction of a car park under the Oval nor the demolition of the Whistler Street car park, showed examples of how car parks similar to Whistler Street had been successfully refurbished.
Maintaining and refurbishing existing infrastructure has become a trend around the world. Car parks can either be camouflaged or made a feature of, depending upon the treatment chosen. See examples below:
Instead of selling the site for shops and fifty apartments, the concept of refurbishing the car park, and opening up the area out the front as a plaza would create a great space for locals to hang out” Clr Bingham said.
Although the spaces in the existing car park are tight, the fact that it is so centrally located and well patronised supports the case to maintain it.
Should the Oval car park go ahead, with the sale and demolition of the Whistler Street car park and the removal of 100 parking spots from the streets? Manly will only be 300 car spaces better off, in a far less convenient, underground location.
Is it worth the high cost, high risk or should another location be found which will provide 300 parking spaces?
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.