The furore over Merimbula’s car parking issue is refusing to subside after another commercial property owner has complained about council’s method of counting car parking spaces in the Merimbula CBD.
In a recent parking audit, council claimed that there was a surplus of 725 car parking spaces in Merimbula. In calculating the numbers, council included 822 timed and untimed kerbside parking places.
Owner of the Promenade and Lakeside Walk shops, Colin Meares, maintains that council does not have discretion to substitute kerbside parking in lieu of designated carparks because owners have paid to have specific designated car parking spaces.
Mr Meares built the Promenade shopping centre in 1985 at which time, he said, council acquired “the prime corner of my site” as payment of his car parking contribution.
“In essence I was forced to transfer the most valuable portion of my land to council to get my DA approved. The value of the land given to council was determined by valuers, Caddy Searl and Jarman, and each car space was calculated by what it would cost council to purchase land and provide additional parking in town,” Mr Meares said.
He said the land was given to council on the basis that its equivalent value would be used to provide car parking spaces.
“In our view, if property owners have paid car parking contributions under Section 94, then the council does not have discretion to substitute kerbside parking in lieu of designated carparks. If council is not going to provide additional designated carparking, then council has taken money from owners under false pretences and should refund these monies to those owners based on today’s value of the contribution that was made at the time,” Mr Meares said.
“I spent over $85,000 in 1985 landscaping the corner site that I had to give to council. I further paid 50 per cent of the cost of the playground and the surrounding boardwalk to enhance and create a lovely environment for Merimbula.
“I would never have agreed to this land transfer and beautification had I known council would remove the adjoining parking and destroy the southern end of town,” Mr Meares added.
He was at pains to stress it was very important that council did not remove any existing parking from the Merimbula CBD without supplying alternative parking.
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