Council has purchased the old Plumb Motors site at 77-79 Auckland St, Bega, with a view to increase car parking availability in town.
Purchase was completed on April 1 and is believed to have cost in the region of $600,000.
The estimated site spend follows the council’s purchase of the Tura Tavern for $1.2million in 2013, the Auswide building in Merimbula in 2015 for $1.293million (although the final cost was considerably lower due to an existing grant) and Eden’s Australasia Hotel for an estimated $550,000 in 2016.
Purchases are all being funded via the general fund, although in some cases costs are offset against previous provisions in the budget where there was a recognisable need for a new building.
The Auckland St site would provide 90 car parking spots at a site that also backs onto the sports complex.
A confidential report detailing both the cost and the valuation of the site is expected to be publicly available in the next few days after council agreed to declassify it at the general council meeting on Wednesday, April 27.
Councillor Keith Hughes wanted costs to be revealed at the meeting, but was told the information would be available once documents were declassified.
Director strategy and business services Lucas Scarpin was at pains to stress the purchase was via the general fund rather than through Section 94 funds, which are specifically put aside for car parking matters.
Council’s interest in the Auckland St block followed a request from councillors to investigate the site and staff presented a confidential report to council on December 16, 2015, about the possibility of purchase.
Acquisition was completed on April 1 and at the same time as declassifying the reports, council also sought agreement to begin the public notification process required to re-classify the land.
The 90 car parks in Auckland St would add to the extra 37 spots made available through the recent redevelopment in lower Gipps St. That work was done at an estimated cost of $170,000 for a net gain of 13 car spots for Bega, given the loss of spaces in Littleton Gardens.
The Gipps St work was funded from Section 94 contributions rather than general funds and, at the time (14 months ago), promoted by council staff as “the best current opportunity to increase the number of available public car spaces within the Bega CBD”.
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