Although budgeted at $15.5m, the cost of the new Indoor Swim Centre at the Manly Boy Charlton Swim Centre has reached in excess of $19m, with construction and architectural tenders now confirmed. This represents a cost blow-out of over 20%.
Additionally there is the $1.5m for LM Graham Amenities and $1.3m for the CoGen + Energy Centre for the pools, which have been budgeted for separately.
With the loss of on-site parking, users of the Swim Centr e and Reserve say that parking on Kenneth Road has become a life-threatening activity as Manly Council continues to ignore expert advice and community pleas to fix the problem.
The council created the problem in April by changing parking conditions on Kenneth Rd, next door to the swim centre. It replaced parallel parking on both sides of the road with angle parking on one side. But because parallel parking was retained on the other side, cars exiting angle parking spots have to back out over the centre line creating a hazard for traffic travelling in both directions. Even worse, the angle parking was "nose to kerb", so car drivers were forced to back out blind into fast moving traffic. The changes were introduced as part of the council's controversial $19 M redevelopment of the swim centre, which creates a need for more parking spaces at the same time as taking existing spaces away. They also affect sports groups and dog walkers using LM Graham Reserve next door.
The parking changes have always been opposed by Manly's four independent councillors, including Good For Manly Cr Candy Bingham, on the grounds that they are inappropriate and dangerous for a busy thoroughfare such as Kenneth Rd. They have been joined by angry residents, who have used the Manly Daily to describe the changes as "ridiculous" and "a nightmare".
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has raised concerns with the council several times and, in October, sent a formal letter saying Kenneth Rd did not meet national parking safety standards. RMS senior officer John Begley said parking should only be on one side of Kenneth Rd, effectively making the road wider and reversing safer. The parking should also be changed to 90-degree angle parking, from the existing 30-degree parking arrangement.
Council states it is still in negotiation with the RMS but in the meantime has kept parking on both sides of the street, and maintained its 30-degree parking format. Its only concession has been to change the direction of angle parking, so cars will now park rear to the kerb.
Independent councillor Barbara Aird said that the council’s refusal to fix the parking problem was “unbelievable”. She has been leading the campaign to improve the situation, which she described as “an accident waiting to happen”.
What do you think? Do you use Kenneth Road?
Candy Bingham, Former Councillor Manly Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.