It has been suggested that the redevelopment of the Bullion Street carpark is ‘a once in a lifetime opportunity’.
I cannot agree with that because this is a second bite of the same cherry.
This idea was discussed, at length, some years ago, and the proposal was, overwhelmingly, rejected by those with both business and social interests.
It was rejected, because no one could satisfactorily explain why Umina Beach needs to have this proposed green space / civic centre, high rise development, especially at the expense of the parking precinct, which is crucial to both those who use the shopping centre and the businesses they visit.
I kept asking, then, and I ask again, now, where will shoppers park, if the Bullion Street carpark no longer exists?
The new development will split the town in two.
The idea is that this new development would be an outdoor focal point, for young and old.
We already have that, with the foreshore picnic areas at Ettalong and Umina Beach.
Neither of these locations can provide sufficient parking, as it is.
Even if there is a condition that the new development would duplicate the existing number of car spaces already available, it will not be enough.
If anything, the number of spaces needs to be doubled – more and more people are moving to this area.
Where do we park, during construction?
How can it be an advantage for Umina to have more shops, cafes, green space and recreation areas, if there is nowhere for shoppers and visitors to park?
Without the carpark, businesses in West Street will suffer loss of trade.
This was the major concern expressed by business owners who attended previous meetings, to discuss this suggestion.
As business owners, amongst many, we object to the proposed sale of the Bullion Street carpark.
If Council does sell the carpark to a developer, what input or influence will locals be able to exert, to ensure the development will benefit the whole town, and not just the developer?
Precious little, I expect.
If we have more housing development, in the form of another high-rise apartment complex, on this site, will (possibly underground) parking be exclusive to the occupants of those apartments?
If the proposed new space were to look bright, new and modern, it would make West Street look shabby, down-market and uninviting, by comparison, and this would adversely affect many existing businesses.
I don’t understand why we need to create a new focal point, at the expense of the existing businesses.
Retail has been in the doldrums, for years, and things are just beginning to look a little brighter, but continued success of businesses in West Street will depend on the availability of easily accessible parking – and plenty of it.
Email, May 18
Cathy Waller, Umina Beach