The sale of the Bullion Street carpark is an excellent idea (“Prospective Umina Beach carpark sale raises local ire”, PP013).
In fact, the property was offered for sale some years back but was withdrawn, for reasons that are still unknown.
The Council never revealed why the offer was discontinued and did not reply to a question that I posed on the subject.
At that time, the Chamber of Commerce (or, at least, Matthew Wales) was vehemently opposed to the project, so it is interesting that there seems to be no comment from the organization on the current move.
The situation hasn’t changed, so one would expect that the Chamber should restate its position on the matter and reiterate the grounds for its original objection.
The site is large and strategically placed and is absurdly underutilized as an open car park.
It has the potential to be a landmark development for Umina, although that would, of course, depend on imaginative oversight by Council – something that hasn’t been widely evident in the past.
The objection that redevelopment would interfere with use of the service lane is patently absurd: probably, a condition of the sale should be the widening of the service lane to allow for two-way access along its length, thus improving its utility.
As for the existing parking, the previous offer of the land specified that the same amount of free parking should be maintained for five years, to which I objected that the parking should be maintained in perpetuity, since there was no conceivable reason why the residents of the Peninsula should give up an amenity, they now enjoyed to fatten the profits of a property developer.
With this caveat, the sale is a win/win situation for the community.
However, the comment that the property “will not be sold for less than market value” is highly disturbing.
Why should we have to be assured that the Council will obtain market value for the sale of any of our assets: surely, that should be taken for granted.
Does it indicate that other properties will be sold for less than market value and that only the Bullion Street carpark is to be thus protected?
If that is the case, the Council should reveal which properties it is prepared to let go at a discount, so that we know exactly how much loss we are expected to bear.
The whole matter of asset sales has been dealt with clumsily, and, perhaps, there is an opportunity for our Administrator Mark 3 to revisit the process and offer the community the right to participate in the decision-making, so that we can feel satisfied that the best outcome has been achieved.
Email, May 7
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy