The Good For Manly four year fight against the Manly Oval car park plan, spearheaded by former Manly Councillor Candy Bingham, has been fully vindicated now that independent assessments into the controversial project have been released - and they are as damning as it gets!
A full copy of the reports by Ernst & Young and Value Networks can be downloaded below. In summary they highlight:
And most importantly ….
“The Manly community, all the non-Liberal Manly councillors, and my community group Good For Manly, have been incredibly worried about this reckless project from the start,” Mrs Bingham said. “Now that we have seen the independent reports, the reality was probably even worse than we thought.”
She said that the project, which was pushed by former Mayor Jean Hay and GM Henry Wong, lacked even the most basic of business principals.
“This was a huge project for Manly - it involved building what would most likely have been a $50M car park in difficult, water logged ground under the sports oval. To finance it we would have had to accept a non-complying commercial and residential development in the heart of Manly village,” Mrs Bingham said.
“Despite all that, the reports found that the council did not even have a business plan; there was no adequate financial risk assessment; the specifications for the oval car park were hopelessly vague and the total cost of building the oval car park was significantly underestimated. And the contract the council eventually signed actually transferred all the car park project risks to the council and its ratepayers."
These failings, along with other serious concerns, were so grave, that both independent reports recommended the project should be terminated, despite Manly Council having already signed contracts with developers just days before its amalgamation.
Mrs Bingham said Council general manager Henry Wong and Mayor Jean Hay, who were the main drivers of the project, had been warned time after time that the plans were flawed.
“We have been asking for a business plan since day one”, Mrs Bingham said
“In the end it got so bad we couldn’t even discuss it in council. I tried to put a motion on the council agenda asking for a business case to be developed and the general manager refused. He didn’t have the right to, but he did it anyway. I then asked Mayor Jean Hay to debate the item as a matter of urgency but she refused too. "
Mrs Bingham said the reports also revealed that although the oval car park had been ‘sold’ as parking for locals and shoppers, the General Manager had told developers to design the car park for commuters.
“That is just appalling,” Mrs Bingham said. “While Henry Wong was promoting the plans by promising they would increase parking spaces in Manly, (which in fact they wouldn't due to the number of parking spaces that were to be removed from the streets), what he was actually doing was removing our locals' car park, and putting up a commuter car park instead.”
“Whistler St car park is used by 425,000 cars each year. If you assume an average spend per car of $20, then pulling the car park down means Manly retailers would lose almost $10 million every year. That would have gutted Manly Village as a retail and commercial precinct.”
Mrs Bingham also pointed to Manly Council’s track record with new infrastructure.
“The car park would have been the same as the swimming pool debacle. The GM said the pool upgrade would cost $15M. It cost $28M plus no allowance had been made for the $900,000 annual additional staff costs. The car park would have been the swimming pool on steroids.”
Mrs Bingham acknowledged the hard work of Good For Manly, community group Save Manly Oval Alliance, the non-Liberal councillors Barbara Aird, Cathy Griffin and Hugh Burns, the North Harbour Precinct and the Manly community in the oval car park battle. And she called for those responsible to be held to account.
“Given the damning nature of these reports, I believe Northern Beaches Council should consider taking action against former GM Henry Wong for misleading the council and entering into contracts that had no hope of being delivered for the approved budget,” Mrs Bingham said.
“The reports are also an indictment on the former Liberal block of five councillors, who were derelict in their duty to the community they were supposed to represent.
“Serious questions still remain about who was to benefit from the two projects - it certainly wasn't the community”
The Northern Beaches Council is left with trying to sort out the mess, including massive claims for compensation from Built/Athas who were awarded the tender for the Whistler Street site.
What do you think should be done about this debacle?
We saw "people power" at its very best in Manly last Sunday afternoon.
Despite 150 kph winds and torrential rain approximately 300 concerned locals turned up at a church hall for a "Save Manly Oval" public meeting.
It seemed ironic that a meeting raising concerns about a 500 space car park to be built under a reinstated Manly Oval, was in progress while Manly Oval was actually flooded, particularly around the area where the new detention tank had been installed by Council earlier this year.
Expert after expert informed the meeting about major concerns in relation to the DA which was lodged the day before Manly Council was amalgamated into the new Northern Beaches Council.
The proposed $28m cost was dismissed by experts claiming the cost would be closer to $45-50m. Traffic experts explained the impact of reducing Sydney Road into one through lane in both directions, and the issue of there being no break-down area. (That afternoon a truck broke down in Sydney Road . Under the proposed new arrangement it would have totally blocked and stopped the traffic proceeding into Manly for hours causing traffic jams likely as far as the The Spit.) And what about emergency vehicles? How are they supposed to access this major road in an emergency?
A proposed roundabout at Eustace Street simply will not work, the gathering was told. Dozens of buses, trucks and the dual carriage Sydney Water Sewage trucks which use Sydney Road daily, will be unable to negotiate such a tight turn.
But then there was the flooding issue. As torrential rain fell on the roof of the hall, and water was gushing down Sydney Road at a great rate, the sober reality of building an underground car park, in a flood plain at the bottom of a steep hill, sent shivers up the spine. And the DA does not allow for a 1 in 100 year flood, in fact the DA falls well short of the requirement.
For many the reality that the existing historic oval will be completely demolished, with road barriers, entry portals, ventilation stacks, public toilet amenities, and other bulidings blocking the existing vista of the oval from Sydney Road, came as a shock. For years they had been told by Council that the oval would be reinstated in its former glory, but the harsh reality of what is required to service and ventilate a large underground car park means that in fact this will be far from the case. Even the historic Merritt Memorial gateway (erected in 1927) which now proudly provides the entrance to the oval, will be relocated further away - with the toilet amenities as its backdrop.
But that's not all .....
The DA plans clearly show the relocation of the picket fence reducing further the playing field, which is already short of desired length. This raises serious safety issues, particularly for the rugby players where strict rules apply in relation to the size and standard of the playing surface. The Manly Marlins, who have played on the field for 133 years, have now lodged a submission outlining their concerns. (A copy can be viewed the end of this post).
(A recent tongue in cheek cartoon in the Manly Daily by Buddy Ross, captured this concern well.)
The final presentation was by former CEO of Wilson Parking, Craig Smith. With more than 30 years experience in building and operating major car parks all over Australia, he left no doubt that the location of the Oval Car Park simply would not work. It was too far away from the CBD and beach, the revenue projections were way out and the operational costs would be very high. Northern Beaches ratepayers were looking at huge annual ongoing losses that could never be recouped.
So why is this flawed plan even been considered? That's a question Good For Manly has been asking the former five Liberal Councillors on Manly Council, and Local Member Mike Baird, for four years.
The Save Manly Oval Alliance (SMOA) has recently been formed to continue the fight against the Oval Car Park proposal. Already close to $20,000.00 has been raised in a fighting fund which is being used to engage experts to prepare reports against the Oval Car Park DA and engage legal counsel. The Environmental Defenders Office has taken on the case on behalf of the SMOA, and the advice of a leading barrister sought.
What Can You Do?
1. Put in a submission against the Oval Car Park DA No.116/2016. Send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org before July 1.
2. Consider making a donation to the Save Manly Oval Fighting Fund.
Details on how to make a submission and how to make a donation are on their website.
Save Manly Oval Alliance
Wondering where you can park on the Northern Beaches under the new universal one sticker parking system?
Under the new Northern Beaches Council, residents displaying a beach and reserve parking permit, a Pittwater, Warringah or Northern Beaches permit sticker will have free parking at over 40 locations on the Northern Beaches. Manly residents will be sent a parking permit sticker within three weeks.
Former Manly Council residents who park in the former Pittwater and Warringah Council areas need to buy a parking ticket until they receive the new parking permit sticker. They also need to enter their vehicle registration for their digital permit in former Manly Council areas such as at the Manly beachfront, until they receive their Northern Beaches sticker.
Some restrictions apply:
Birdwood Park, North Narrabeen Beach, Mid Narrabeen, Narrabeen St Beach Carpark, Robertson St Beach Carpark, Devitt St Beach Carpark, Collaroy Beach North, Collaroy Beach South, Fisherman’s Beach, Long Reef Beach, Dee Why Beach, Dee Why Headland, North Curl Curl , Mid Curl Curl, South Curl Curl, McKillop Park Reserve, Freshwater Beach, Moore Road, Freshwater (beach end), Gore Street, Freshwater, Jamieson Park, Middle Creek Reserve, Manly Dam, Avalon Beach, Bilgola Beach, Clareville Beach, Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach, Mona Vale Beach, Newport Beach, North Narrabeen Rockpool, Ocean Road, Palm Beach, Warriewood Beach, Bayview Baths, Bilarong Reserve, Pittwater Park, Palm Beach, Winnererremy Bay Reserve, Whale Beach, Shelley Beach, Clontarf, Sandy Bay, Spit Bridge. Note: There are areas where parking permits ARE NOT VALID, including: Rowland Reserve, Bayview, Church Point Reserve, Church Point, Woorak Reserve and Iluka Park, Palm Beach.
How it works
For more information on the One Council - One Beach Parking System
(Information provided by Dick Perssons, Administrator, Nth Beaches Council)
What do you think? Is this going to be good for Manly residents?
Change anything to do with parking in Manly and you are likely to have a problem on your hands. The introduction of ticketless parking meters didn't disappoint this long held theory.
While still struggling with the new digital meters, which replaced parking permit stickers for locals, the requirement to punch in your rego number and display a ticket caused many frustrations. Now you were faced with long queues, glare making the screen impossible to read, and some letters not registering on some meters.
Just when you thought you had mastered the requirements to park on the oceanfront - the next latest technology hit. Ticketless parking meters! Now not only do you have to face longer queues, deal with the glare making the screen impossible to read but also wonder if the bl***dy thing actually worked as you don't get a ticket of proof that you have paid, or for how long.
And that's just the problem - no ticket of proof as a number of locals have discovered recently when they disputed fines.
At the March Council meeting the General Manager admitted there had been a few teething problems with the new system resulting in some people being incorrectly fined. If you are one of them, be sure to lodge your complaint with Manly Council and insist on a refund.
Manly Council's last meeting of the year was business as usual for the Liberal block. They voted 5/4 to proceed to tender on both the oval car park and Whistler Street site redevelopment - after a 3 hour debate.
I've never seen such a huge gallery - there were so many people they were on the landing, sitting on the floor and down the staircase.
Roger Freney of North Habour precinct spoke against the motion to go to tender and did a sterling job handling a number of difficult questions with great poise. He was able to get across the community's key points and concerns.
Mike Bradley from Ivanhoe Park precinct also had them sitting up in their seats (those who had seats anyway) when, as an economist, he talked about the true value of the Whistler Street site and questioned why Council was offering such a long lease (99 years).
The president of the Chamber of Commerce, Drew Johnson, spoke in support of the motion.
Five companies will be invited to tender to 'design & construct' the oval car park and two for the Whistler Street site. The tender period will be 12 weeks.
An amendment to delay the process was lost 5/4 as was a rescission motion lodged at the end of the meeting.
It was very pleasing to see the four non liberal Councillors working so hard to endeavor to delay the process, and ensure that due process was being followed.
Clr Cathy Griffin referred to a new term being used by Planning Minister Rob Stokes - "wicked projects". Here's a great reference on google.
Yes, it's a wicked project alright!
Thank you for your support this year. We will continue to fight for what we believe is "good for Manly" in 2016, and the fight against the oval car park is not over!
Artificial intelligence has reached the Manly beachfront.
Manly Council has installed smart machines capable of recognising over-staying tourist buses and people who wrongly park in disabled-driver spots.
The idea came from the popular facial-analysis app How Old Do I Look, which uses machine learning to guess your age from a photo.
Manly’s Chief Information Officer Nathan Rogers said he realised the technology could be applied to something more useful.
He said the council IT team began by writing a program that downloaded 10,000 images from CCTV of locations like an empty bus bay at different times of day and under different weather conditions. The images were fed into the council’s Microsoft Azure Machine Learning technology, which is in use in several sites, including bus parking zones at Manly Beach and mobility parking bays at the swim centre.
The software can identify anomalies – such as a bus parked in a bay for longer than the permitted time – and alert parking rangers by email.
Mr Rogers said the program, which was already very accurate, has become even more reliable over time, and is now a huge asset to rangers who have gained a “sixth sense” ability to be in the right place at the right time.
He said the system was not about issuing more fines but keeping parking spaces turning over.
Other potential applications include crowd control, and predicting surf conditions.
Manly Council has a large number of smart and connected devices, including four smart parking stations, about 25 smart parking meters, 20 wireless access points and 100 CCTV cameras, all connected by eight kilometres of fibre optic cable.
Manly Council has called for Expressions of Interest (EOI) to build and construct a new car park under Manly Oval which will "accommodate at least 470 cars, but is designed to be expandable, with construction by others, to 760 spaces in the future".
This has surprised a number of Councillors who were expecting that the EOI would be for the original larger car park of 760 spaces, which Council has been stating from day one was what was needed; would be the most cost effective solution; and could be built for $34m.
"Once again this process is flawed", claimed Independent Councillor Candy Bingham. " We are now being told that 'based on the demand study, a car park with 470 spaces now and 760 in the future will deliver the "best value for money outcome” with the additional capacity not needed until 2030' she said.
So why the sudden switch to a smaller car park? Consider these facts:
1. Manly does not currently need additional parking.
2. The new smaller car park will only replace parking removed from the street, and parking currently
available in Whistler St (which is to be redeveloped for mixed use and apartments with no parking).
3. The cost of the smaller car park will be closer to the original budget of $34m.
4. Forecasts show that a larger car park will not be required until at least 2030.
5. A larger car park of 760 spaces is likely to cost $45m-$50m not $34m as originally budgeted.
“Even if the Council is successful in getting a long-term lease for the Whistler Street site to offset some of the cost of building a new car park under Manly Oval, the facts still remain. They are replacing a well-located, very profitable car park with a new car park further away which will carry a very large debt and major ongong operating costs.
“Why? There must be more to this than the vision of 'pedestrianising Manly'.” Clr Bingham said.
The EOI closes Friday 12th June with a report expected to come to Council in July 2015.
Manly Councillors meet again at a workshop on 21 February to explore a number of options relating to the controversial Manly 2015 Plan.
Manly Councillors will meet again at a workshop on 21 February to explore a number of options relating to the proposed 760 space car park under Manly Oval, and the proposed demolition of the centrally-located Whistler Street car park to build shops and apartments, with both projects becoming a driving wedge between the interests of the Chamber of Commerce on the one hand, and of those local residents on the other.
As reported last year in the Manly Daily. Council is currently looking at a number of additional options with the view to finding a compromise. These include:
Is a smaller car park under the oval a viable idea? Not according to local experts who have reviewed the concept and come to the conclusion that the cost per parking space would be in the vicinity of $80,000 each , or $32m for the 400 space car park. (Download the full report at the bottom of this article)
In the meantime, as part of the Manly 2015 Plan, work has commenced on Raglan Street, which will include new bike paths and beautification of the footpaths, from Belgrave Street to The Steyne.
Also, installation of the retention tank in the existing Oval has begun, with the view to reducing flooding of this area during heavy rains. A government grant was obtained for that work.
UPDATE: Clr Bingham's motion to stop the Oval car park was lost 5 - 4 but the matter has been delayed. A Councillor workshop is to be scheduled to discuss further.
The Office of Local Government (OLG) has now responded to Manly Council's submission to build a $34m car park under Manly Oval.
Late Friday 1st August 2014, Councillors received notice of an Extraordinary Meeting for the following Monday 4th August, to vote on the matter.
There has been no public notification of this extraordinary meeting by Council, which will take place after the scheduled Planning & Strategy Meeting which commences at 7.30pm.
The response from the Office of Local Government (below) is ambiguous enough for either side to state that they are right. For example the Council highlights "..the office of Local Government's capital expenditure criteria have been broadly met" , while those concerned about the project and Good For Manly focus on comments such as "While primary concerns have been addressed, I note the significant complexity and risks associated with the project" and "I would draw the Council's attention to these concerns:
1. the viability of the project .....
2. the ability to achieve long term cost of debt at 5%
3. the potential impact of unforeseen cost increases
The response also says: "It is important to note that the response from the OLG should not be construed to be an endorsement of the Manly Oval Car Park".
The OLG response and the Staff recommendation to proceed with the DA for the car park are below:
Manly's digital parking system was brought in to end the "black market" in residents' free parking permits. But, according to many Manly locals it's awkward, unfair and unnecessary, although the right to four hours free on the oceanfront as from 3rd April, is definitely seen as a bonus.
A new Facebook page "Manly Council Parking - Wrecking our Beach Lifestyle" already has 543 likes, and its authors are busy establishing a committee to persuade the council to ditch the digital system.
The new system, which began in February, requires residents to apply for a permit online by registering their car's licence plates with the council.
Then, whenever they use a metered parking area, such as the bays at Manly ocean beach, they must type their car's licence number and intended length of stay into a meter. They then then print out a parking ticket and display it inside the windscreen.
It's a huge departure from the simplicity of the previous system, when residents got one sticker a year and all they had to do was fix it on the car windscreen.
Complaints on the Facebook page include the sheer inconvenience of the new system, with mothers complaining they now have to join a queue at the parking meter every time they park for 10 minutes to pick up a child from school. Elderly drivers and people with poor near vision say they have trouble using the small keyboard on the parking meters.
Many people are also annoyed that they have to carefully specify how long they will need each time, when the nature of a trip to the beach is that it may expand due to good surfing/swimming conditions or meeting up with friends.
A "Wrecking our Beach Lifestyle" post ridicules the "digital" tag, as in fact, the new system means residents now need to print out a ticket every time they park. "It's really going more manual," the post says.
"Now instead of getting a sticker once a year, a resident could potentially have to get a ticket once a day! Privilege and convenience gone in one fell swoop. And why? I don't see any of the net benefits. A case of fixing something that wasn't broken in the first place."
What has your experience with the new system been?
Manly Council's introduction of a new digital car parking system for residents have caused major confusion and upset many locals.
Replacing the old 'sticker on the windscreen' system, residents are now required to register their car number plate on-line, at the Council's website or Customer Service Centre.
Instead of the convenient park and go system previously, residents are now need to go to the meter, punch in their rego number for for selected time period and then leave the ticket on their dashboard.
The new system has particularly angered regular users of the ocean front who were under the misapprehension that they could park for free for four hours (the time limit as actually two). Council has now changed it to four hours following a motion by Mayor Jean Hay who admitted she was confused too. (This will be effective late March)
So, if you haven't already registered your vehicles on-line, Click Here - otherwise you risk getting a nasty parking fine.
Cr Bingham said that encouraging car sharing in this way would actually free up car spaces in Manly as people elect not to have their own vehicle.
Consultation will be undertaken with local precinct groups and car share companies to decide on the most suitable locations.
Breaking News: Update The $15m upgrade of Manly 'Boy Charlton' Swim Centre has now been approved by the Joint Regional Planning Panel (18/12/13) who previously raised concerns about the traffic & parking plans for the Centre.
Some conditions have been applied to address the traffic and parking issues raised including the provision of a footpath on the northern side of the road. Many locals are still concerned that the road is too busy to accommodate the angle parking proposed. (See video demonstration above).
The traffic report indicated that an average of 1012 vehicles currently use Kenneth Road. Many of these are school buses and commercial vehicles, which, with the width of the road at 13m is simply not wide enough to provide safe 30 degree angle parking on the southern side and parallel parking on the northern side . We believe that the proposed provision of traffic calming and reduced speed limit to 50km will only agitate, not solve, the issue.
Manly Council has knocked back a chance to resolve financial worries over its proposed oval car park.
Today the council rejected a motion by Good For Manly councillor Candy Bingham to commission a realistic "revenue generating" forecast.
Cr Bingham proposed that financial services company KPMG prepare a "sensitivity analysis" on the financial return from the car park based on 75 per cent concessional (free) usage.
Cr Bingham said previous KPMG modelling had used the figure of 50 per cent use of free car parking, although the council's own surveys show free use actually accounts for 75 per cent of car park visits, as drivers take advantage of Manly's "two hour free parking" rule.
Councillors opposing the motion said the council had already asked for financial forecasts on the project. But when General Manager Henry Wong was specifically asked if the 75 per cent figure would be used, he could only reply that he "would expect this would happen". As none of the councillors have seen the brief provided to the analysts preparing reports, we can only speculate on what they have actually been asked to review.
According to Many Council's Manly2015 Bulletin dated 12th December, 2013 the following studies are underway:
1. Village Centre Development Mix Study Mid November 2013
2. Retail Centre Study Mid November 2013
3. Parking Demand Study Mid November 2013
4. Independent Due Diligence Advice late December 2013
5. Lodgement of CapEx to DLG January 2014
(Division of Local Government)
6. Lodgement of DA to JRPP March 2014
(Joint Regional Planning Panel)
7. Tender for Oval Car park May/June 2014
The fast pace and timing of this project is alarming with all major reports due over the Christmas holiday season. Mayor Jean Hay tried to criticize Cr Bingham during debate on the motion saying, "This is the 13th occasion you have brought concerns regarding this project to Council". But actually the council should be listening to the concerns raised not only by Cr Bingham and Good for Manly, but all nine of the resident precinct groups, the Chamber of Commerce and four of Manly's most prominent property owners.
As the Liberal councillors keep reminding us - "let's see what the independent studies show". One would wonder however, if it was truly necessary to commission these very expensive reports when it would appear that the project is flawed. Council has spend $177,000 in the last financial year alone on consultants for Manly2015, and that was before all these reports were commissioned.
Alarm over figures for Manly Council's proposed new car park is behind a call for a fresh study into the $40 million project.
Good For Manly councillor Candy Bingham will ask Council to commission a new "revenue generating" forecast by financial services company KPMG at its next meeting on December 2, 2013.
This time the brief will be to use actual car park usage figures, including 75 per cent usage of free car spaces, as drivers take advantage of Manly's "two hours free parking" rule.
Cr Bingham said previous KPMG modelling had used the figure of 50 per cent use of free car parking, although the council's own surveys show free use actually accounts for 75 per cent of visits.
Cr Bingham is not alone in her concerns about the car park, which is part of the council's $80 million Manly2015 project. The Manly Chamber of Commerce, all the independent Manly councillors and Manly's precincts (residents' groups) are opposed to the plan in its current form.
Recently, four of Manly's respected long-term property owners also queried the viability of the oval car park.
Apart from worries over Manly 2015's financial viability, stakeholders are upset at the lack of public consultation on the plan and concerned that the car park will be moved further away from the CBD.
But Manly Council says the plan will bring Manly's lane ways back to life and remove traffic from CBD streets. It aims to create a "heart" for Manly based around a new library in Market Place, as well as demolishing the Whistler St car park and building a new 800-space car park under Manly oval.
Good for Manly fully supports the activation of laneways and creating a 'heart' for Manly in Whistler Street however we believe this can be done by revitalisation of existing infrastructure, rather than major redevelopment.
See related Manly Daily article at http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/iphone/homepage.aspx#_article06cf8f9b-6153-40ef-8f8d-e2ac8a159ef5
Alarm bells have started to ring regarding the ‘revenue generation’ model for the Oval Car Park which is based on a turnover of 600 cars, everyday, paying an average of $15 each. This figure (which seems very unlikely) does not take into account Council’s current policy of two hours free parking, and no analysis of demand has been undertaken.
A recent study of the utilisation of Council’s existing car parks by the operators of Manly Wharf has confirmed Council’s own study that the existing car parks are under-utilised, expect during major events and summer weekends.
The funding of the car park will be over 50 years with Council borrowings of around $33m, (although KPMG have put the figure at closer to $40m). Many are questioning the wisdom of the plan. On the 3rd June at Manly Council meeting the Manly 2015 Plan and the proposal for the car park was debated for 2 hours as part of the total 10 year Strategic Plan which included the controversial 2015 Plan.
The Good For Manly campaign to stop the Oval car park & save Whistler Street car park was successful in slowing down the process and getting an independent due diligence review of the projects, more consultation and therefore more time to get the facts known. This resulted in a compromise resolution put forward by the Liberals which is why Good for Manly's Councillor, Candy Bingham, supported the motion. Without our campaign the Oval car park would now be a reality. While the resolution at the June 3 Council meeting has bought us more time it is concerning that the Mayor, Jean Hay, at recent 2015 briefing sessions, is speaking as if the Plan is going ahead.
A report commissioned by Council by KPMG on the feasibility of the key components of the Plan has not been made available to Councillors despite a major campaign by Clr Bingham who is stressing that Councillors need to be fully briefed on the financial consequences of the Plan and confirmation by the Division of Local Government that the document must be provided to Councillors.
To date, every Manly Precinct has opposed the Oval car park plan, 200 people attended a recent public meeting arranged by Good for Manly against the Plan, close to 100 individual letters have been received by Councillors against the Plan plus letters in the Daily. So what else do we need to do to get the Liberal Councillors to listen to what their community wants?
The debate went on for 2 hours as part of the total 10 year Strategic Plan which included the controversial 2015 Plan. The Good For Manly campaign to stop the Oval car park & save Whistler Street car park was successful in slowing down the process and getting an independent due diligence review of the projects, more consultation & therefore more time to get the facts known. This resulted in a compromise resolution put forward by the Liberals which is why Good for Manly's Councillor, Candy Bingham, supported the motion. Without our campaign the construction of the Oval car park would now be a binding, financial commitment. The resolution at the June 3 Council meeting has bought us more time.
Forgive me for being skeptical but is Manly Council's latest discovery that the Whistler Street car park (which they want to demolish and sell off the land for apartments) is now a fire hazard seem a little convenient to you?
Previous claims that the structure had concrete cancer have now been withdrawn. Yes, the car park is old but it was built to the standards of the day. Many improvements have been made since, and others will need to be made. But our advice is that the structure is sound and still has a good 40 years of useful life left.
Depending upon which Council document you read, the cost of the proposed two-level car park under historic Manly Oval for 800 cars, has been quoted from $31.5m to $36m. Our advice is that the cost would be closer to $40 million. The validity of the 'revenue generating' forecast is also questionable according to our three independent experts.
As the General Manager of Manly Council has refused on numerous occasions to provide Councilors a copy of the full KPMG financial viability study, commissioned by Council for Council, Councillor Candy Bingham has had to rely on the opinions of other very credible industry experts. Which raises the question: What is in the KPMG report that the General Manager does not want Councillors to discover?
After years of lobbying and countless submissions made to Council by the Chamber of Commerce and local business owners there was a unanimous decision by Councillors last night to reduce the onerous Section 94 Change of Use parking fee requirements imposed on new restaurants & cafes opening in Manly'sCBD. The motion will see a reduction of 83% in the Change of Use parking fee levy. The previous fees were 'exorbitant' (which equated to $10,000 per three seats in a premises) and were seen as a "barrier to entry" meaning that unless you had a lot of funds to invest up-front, you were unable to afford to open a restaurant or cafe in Manly.
It's a good start, but many argue it's still too high and that no fees should be charged. What do you think?
It's time Manly Council did a total audit of its parking schemes rather than its continual piecemeal approach of upping fees without any consultation, upsetting locals, and then having to reverse the decision due to local outrage. This latest example of an increase from $60 to $500 for a third resident parking permit is just typical of the lack of research that goes into these decisions.
Yes, there is a black market for parking permits in Manly (because parking is so scarce) but surely it's time to do a total review of what we have, and how best to manage it.
It's understood that Council's exiting car parks are under utilized anyway, with at least 20% vacancy rates most of the time. The matter isn't helped by Council's current policy to allow only 50% of parking spaces needed, provided in new developments - why? because they can charge the developer a Section 94 contribution towards the cost of providing parking in the already existing car parks. (clearly THAT isn't working!)
A total audit needs to be done to sort out this mess.
The decision by Manly Council this week to retain the two hour free parking in the Manly CBD carparks was simply a farce! If you want to completely kill Manly, take away the free parking.
The real question that should be explored is what benefit would Manly gain if three hours free parking was introduced, just like the competing shopping areas nearby.
Yes, Manly is unique. It is not just shops. It's also beaches, schools, classes, community activities, a social meeting place. And locals are staying away in droves because it's just getting too hard to visit, and park in Manly. Two hours is simply not long enough.Those who do park here are constantly looking at their watches to make sure they don't go over the two hours!
Council's figures show that 80% of people who use the car parks stay for two hours. Yes, $1.2m is generated by the 3rd hour but I wonder how much business is being lost because people are rushing back to move their car rather than ordering that extra coffee, popping into a shop or calling into the newsagent for example.
What do you think? Is it time to review our parking approach in Manly?
Would three hours free parking encourage you to come back to Manly? Do our Poll. Add your comment.
Stop Press:Council voted unanimously against the increase at last night's meeting (4/6/12). It was stated that the proposal was just one of many that were suggested at a brainstorming meeting to find ways to raise additional funds and yet although it hadn't been voted on by Councillors somehow appeared in the draft budget. Why? It was also revealed that such a move would have raised about $350,000. But what would have happened to our Village? Empty shops and no-one using the parking stations in Manly I suspect while Warringah Mall benefits. An ill conceived idea that should never have seen the light of day.
Background to story 23 May 2012:
Residents and local businesses are alarmed by the Council’s proposal to remove the 2 hour free parking period in the four parking stations in Manly’s CBD. This proposal is part of the Council’s draft budget for 2012-13 hidden on page 255 of the 288 page Community Strategic Plan. The changes would include:
· $1 fee for the first hour
· $2 fee for the second hour
· Increase in night charges after 7pm to $16 for 3 hours
The Chamber of Commerce, who were not consulted on the proposed changes, has urged the council to scrap the plan due to the potentially disastrous affect it could have on local businesses. Currently, the majority of vehicles using the car parks stay for less than 2 hours. It has been suggested that an increase in fees would prompt shoppers and diners to go elsewhere.
These carparks were funded by commercial levies on local businesses. Does the council therefore have the right to start charging for something that has already been paid for?
This proposal could be the final nail in the coffin for our Village shopping area.
What impact would such a change have on you? Will it change your behaviour in visiting Manly?
Please leave your comment below so that we can include in a submission to council.
UPDATE: 25/5/12 ....Mayor Jean Hay announces that two hour free parking to remain. Question has to be asked: How did this fundamentally important matter get into the draft budget, on her watch, in the first place?
Hold onto your parking ticket - it's not over yet! Manly Daily reported (May 26) that Manly Council is NOW considering a scheme that would require people to get a voucher from local shop to entitle them to 2 hours free parking. Oh brother! Why can't the Council, and the Mayor, get it? If you want Manly Village to survive (let alone thrive) we must compete with other local shopping areas that provide 3 hours free parking, no proof of purchase, no vouchers or bar-code scans, just free parking.
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.