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?
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor & Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.