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.
Candy Bingham, 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.