Gunnedah Shire Council has chosen to adopt the CBD Parking Review and Parking Contributions Plan without further modifications after receiving public submissions.

Bitzios Consulting was hired to update the CBD Parking Strategy after council resolved to replace the 2018 car parking strategy.

This assisted in creating the CBD Parking Contribution Plan, which was on public exhibition from mid-October to November last year.

The area the strategy applies to includes Bloomfield Street to Railway Avenue.

The location of proposed works are chosen with consideration of where future retail and commercial development may occur.

The plan will be enabled on a case-to-case basis. A map of the proposed locations can be found in the contribution plan draft on council’s website.

Timing for the works will depend on commercial and retail development and its demand for parking spaces.

A proportion of the increased development will need to be met with onsite parking but where it is not possible, council may accept a contribution from developers in lieu.

Hard surface on road car parking, line marking, drainage relocation, signage and kerb and gutter works is included in the total costs of work funded under the contribution plan at $1,460,971.

The works are expected to result in a total of 563 car parks compared to the current 532 in the designated area.

Council called on the public for feedback regarding the Gunnedah CBD Car Parking Review during the exhibition period.

“It was nice that we had a number of submissions to this strategy and I am quite happy to leave as is,” Cr Luke said as mover of the motion at April’s meeting.

Council received five submissions from the community which were acknowledged in the director infrastructure services’ report.

A request came from the Gunnedah Workshop Enterprises for council to consider an additional two accessible parking spots in front of the Conadilly Street workplace to assist with day-to-day activities. The officer’s comment stated that, (all types of) on-street parking should aim to benefit all businesses, not just one. It noted that typically businesses would need sufficient off-street parking, however, recognised that as a well-established business, GWE may have grown to require more resources for its activities.

Also enquiring about accessible spots was submission three, which questioned the location of the allocated 30 accessible CBD parking spots and requested a review the layout. The contributor felt Barber Street lacked the suitable number of accessible spaces near the medical centre.

The officer’s comment noted the study highlighted some accessible car park designs were outdated according to Australian standards.

A recommendation was made in the study for accessible parking spaces to be audited and to prioritise works for accessible car parking upgrades in the next five years to meet the standards.

Money for the contributions was primarily to target the designated area. The medical centre mentioned is outside of this area, however, it was noted there is potential for it to be included in the recommended audit for accessible spots.

The comment confirmed improvements made outside the area would likely need to come from other funding as the contributions plan is only for the CBD area.

Another submission suggested council use internal resources to draft the planning of the parking strategy and contributions plan.

The officer’s comment stated the complexity of the documents meant council’s internal resources were incapable of completing the tasks itself at the time.

This submission was in favour of no parking meters or time restrictions in areas of sporting and entertainment areas and felt there was adequate parking in the CBD. The study conducted did confirm there would likely be sufficient CBD parking until the year 2037.

The study also did not recommend more parking meters and time limits but rather recommended further resources to educate drivers about parking rules and safe parking tips.

Another submission raised concerns that businesses operating in the CBD would be charged an additional levy while those outside would not.

The officer’s comments said the contributions plan provides more options for those who operate in the CBD, even if their lot is unable to accommodate the parking spaces required by the development guidelines and Gunnedah Local Environment Plan.

Another submission urged council to consider changing angled parking from 45 degrees to 60 degrees, like Tamworth, to create more spaces.

The comment advised that changing the degrees of parking would be more work than what it is worth in terms of cost and labour.

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