06/02/2007 - 22:00

Parking woes prompt summit

06/02/2007 - 22:00

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The City of Perth is set to call a summit of government, property industry and private parking representatives within days to address the city’s growing parking woes.

Parking woes prompt summit

The City of Perth is set to call a summit of government, property industry and private parking representatives within days to address the city’s growing parking woes.

The shortage of bays has reportedly gone from bad to worse since the state government removed a total of 615 car bays at the Perth Entertainment Centre site late last year, due to construction of the new Perth Arena.

The lost bays at the site will be replaced by up to 680 new bays within the proposed Arena Car Park off Roe Street, but these are not likely to be available before the end of 2008.

Perth deputy mayor Michael Sutherland said the shortage of bays in the city would remain a major headache in the foreseeable future.

Cr Sutherland said the summit was an opportunity to get all parties together to formulate a strategy, and to minimise the confusion over existing bays.

“We’ve all been stumbling along for a while and this has to change,’’ Cr Sutherland told WA Business News.

“There’s too much red tape for motorists to negotiate, like what bays are available and when, and the different short-term and long-term parking rules.’’

He said the government’s CBD car park tax was also a point of contention the summit would likely address, in particular the perceived inequity of central Perth business owners and tenants paying for CAT Bus services which neighbouring government localities used.

Long-term bays in the city are currently taxed $189 per bay per annum, while short-term bays are taxed $163.50 per bay per annum, but these are understood to be rising again this year.

Meanwhile, the council’s parking committee is on a mission to identify council-owned properties with the potential to be converted into car parks.

Cr Sutherland said it planned to redevelop its two-storey Elder Street Car Park, adjacent to the Hotel Grand Chancellor, and boost its current provision of 490 bays to 1,000 bays by the end of 2008.

Architects Hames Sharley is currently working on a concept plan for the 7,000 square metre site.

Over in the east end, council has another card to play with its Gas Works site at 337-345 Wellington Street and the adjoining Garage Car Park site at 347-353 Wellington Street.

A site study by architects Donaldson and Warn, commissioned by council in 2005, identified three potential uses for the combined land area of 2,529sq m - a mixed-use residential complex, a large-scale institutional development or an urban renewal project incorporating commercial and civic space.

Cr Sutherland said given the state of play on parking, it would look at building between 500 and 600 parking bays on the site, with an office and/or residential component above.

Other potential redevelopment sites, including the 4,990sq m Fire Station car park between Murray and Hay Streets, will be considered at the parking committees’ next meeting on February 26.

The City of Perth is not the only group considering building more car parks. Private developers are now realising the advantages of the sector, including lucrative parking fees, short construction periods and zero hassles over pre-commitments.

The East Perth Redevelopment Authority has approved an application from an Indonesian group Starquest Holdings for a new car park in Northbridge on a 3,467sq m site at Errichetti Place between Newcastle and Aberdeen Streets.

The two storey complex comprising 228 bays and eight on-street car bays is expected to be completed by April.

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