Parking ratios will be waived for proposed new developments at Gunida Gunyah Aboriginal Corporation in Gunnedah due to the unique nature of its services provided.

The corporation is proposing to build a cafe, yarning circle, community facility (meeting space/workshop room and exhibition centre) as well as new laundry and toilet at its Conadilly Street premises.

The additions will complement new facilities officially opened last year at the site which offers housing and homelessness services for the Aboriginal community. These existing facilities include office premises on the ground floor and seven-unit hotel accommodation on the first floor.

Prior to its recent refurbishment, the building was the site of the Club House Hotel.

In a development application approved by Gunnedah Shire Council earlier this month, the applicant sought a variation to development control standards pertaining to onsite parking for the latest plans.

The total parking demand is 27 parking spaces but planning only provides a provision for 23 spaces.

The shortfall leaves the development with a deficit of four car spaces.

Council’s director planning and environmental services Andrew Johns said although the applicant was unable meet the standards required, a “solid justification” was provided as to why the parking spaces would not be needed.

“It is unlikely the full extent of parking will ever be utilised,” he said.

The development application stated the land use does not generate the same parking demand as what other developments would of a similar activity due to the services provided by the operator of the site and the social economic background of the customers that the site would service.

It said the development onsite provides accommodation to persons of low social income who may not own vehicles and would be reliant on public transportation.

Furthermore, the cafe is only expected to service persons staying in the accommodation onsite or members of staff and their clients. It is not expected to service the wider community and therefore would generate less parking demand of vehicles.

Additionally, the new meeting space/workshop room is intended to only provide a larger space for gatherings or staff meetings, which are currently occurring in confined spaces within the building.

The applicant also said the community benefits of the development undertaken outweighs the impost to council should additional pressure be placed on council’s existing public parking spaces.

The development application also includes demolition of the existing kitchen and laundry, detached garage and storage shed and the installation of two new business signs.

A new business identification sign at the rear of the property will display the business name presenting to Little Barber Street which will be illuminated with protruding spotlights and be two metres by 0.9 metres in size.

The spotlight will be fitted with a timer to control its illumination after 11pm at night.

A separate business identification sign, 5.7 metres in length and 1.7 metres in height, in the form of wall mounted lettering will be positioned to face the rear allotment boundary.

Gunnedah shire councillor Kate McGrath told fellow elected representatives at the February Planning Environment and Development Committee Meeting, she was thrilled about the new plans at Gunida Gunyah.

“Congratulations on what they’re already doing there … I’m excited to see what these additions will do to further improve the facilities available to our community,” she said.

Gunida Gunyah Aboriginal Corporation was approached to provide additional context for this story but declined to comment at this stage.

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