Under Council’s list of proposed assets for sale, the Umina Beach carpark on West St has been identified as a key sell-off, and businesses are not happy.
The 5,187-metre squared site was acquired by Council for a total sale price of $293,400, with each of the lots sold separately over a period of 18 years.
Council said the site, which had been identified by their project team as having ‘sale potential’, will not be sold for less than market value, as determined by an independent valuer.
Michael Cunico, owner of Chemist Outlet at Umina Beach said the impact from losing the carpark will be devastating.
“We’ve run the pharmacy and post office boxes here for 22 years and the sell-off of the carpark would be absolutely devastating to our business and every other one in Umina,” Cunico said.
“Customers have to access their post boxes through the laneway, as was stipulated in the DA when the building was originally formed, and the removal of the carpark would severely impact this.
“All the businesses around here also use this laneway as a loading and unloading area and if it wasn’t here, we’d have to block the main street of Umina to perform these tasks.
“The main street is already busy, and it is already difficult to find a park.
“Taking away 160 car spaces will only make this harder and force people to shop elsewhere.”
And the co-owner of Bakers Delight Umina Beach, Rosemarie Mondal, agrees, saying both businesses and customers would suffer from the sell-off.
“The parking there is the lifeblood of all the business on the street, including the doctors’ surgeries, the chemists and the food outlets – all essential services,” Mondal said.
“The customers that attend these businesses are aging and need parking close by as they might need assistance to walk.
“We have disabled customers who use wheelchairs as well as vision and hearing-impaired customers, some of whom use guide dogs to help them.
“Council has specifically prevented local stores from putting signage outside their stores – you can’t put an A-Frame out otherwise you’re fined – is it fair then for the Council to take away the carpark?
“We’ve had customers come in this week and say they are very worried because they would not be able to travel – Umina is a local shopping hub for them, and they love the village atmosphere.
“The road at the back of the shop is also the main drop off for deliveries and is accessed by suppliers, including the disposal of the garbage bins.
“We’ve been through some very tough times here as we are competing against two big supermarkets – we are sandwiched between them.
“It would kill our business.”
Council identified there to be a medium environmental risk with its auction, with a small section of the carpark appearing to be a Precinct 1 flood risk but the site is generally unaffected.
The carpark was found to have a positive covenant for car parking on titles, however with the sewer main running within the site and along its southern boundary.
The site provides vehicular access to adjacent southern sites.
Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, said the sale cannot go ahead.
“Parking is already a huge problem on the Peninsula and the loss of this carpark would only add to the already prevalent dilemma facing our community,” Tesch said.
“This carpark is central to the community who use the resource to visit the chemist, the doctors, the local grocers, florists and cafes.
“Removing accessibility to these businesses, which is exactly what this carpark provides, will have a huge consequence for our community from business owners to shoppers.”
Tesch has started a petition calling on the State Government to remove the sale of the carpark from the list of potential sell-offs.
“We know all too well the consequence privatisation has at every level of our lives and we cannot allow our assets to float into the hands of developers who do not have our community interests at heart,” Tesch added.