Questions have been raised over the Woy Woy Commuter carpark again after recent FOI documents indicated that the project had no confirmed timeframe or total cost and that no community consultation had occurred.
The long-awaited $5M project was expected to create 140 carparking spaces for Woy Woy commuters following bipartisan calls for more commuter carparks on the Coast.
Federal Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, first announced the project on March 27, 2019, 15 days prior to the Federal Election being called on April 11.
According to Transport for NSW documents, the project remains at the design stage with upcoming activities to focus on cost estimation and risk adjustment and the draft development PPR.
Dates surrounding the commencement of construction, or its completion are still deemed ‘to be decided’, however the document showed the project was still on schedule to meet its next federal milestone.
The documents indicated the total estimated cost was still ‘to be decided’ with no funds to be contributed from the NSW Government.
The project however will be delivered through Transport for NSW.
When asked about the delays and uncertainty surrounding the project, Wicks said the project would be 100 per cent funded by the Federal Government.
“TfNSW is well progressed with planning and is undertaking investigations to deliver the best solution for the community and the local environment,” Wicks said.
“Currently, the car parking is in the design and planning phases, and some engineering issues have been identified across possible sites.
“These include all of the potential sites being flood prone due to their proximity to Brisbane Water, the requirements for extended retaining walls and the need to relocate rail assets.
“Community consultations will commence once a suitable site is finalised.
“As is typical when delivering infrastructure, construction start, and finish dates will be announced once planning is complete and when the final design is developed; and the local community will be informed as soon as there are any developments.
“It is normal practice in the delivery of infrastructure projects for there to be a significant lead time between the announcement of the project and construction commencing.”
In an interview with CCN at the start of July, Wicks said the concept design of the carpark, including details on the chosen site, would be finalised within days and a more realistic idea of construction timeframes would be known.
Reports suggested the decision over the chosen site would be either an existing carpark located next to Deepwater Plaza, or a piece of vacant land owned by Transport for NSW on Railway St.
Transport for NSW were said to be considering a number of factors such as the distance of the site from the railway station, the impact on nearby properties and rail assets, the exact number of car spaces possible and social and environmental impacts of the project.
The New Liberals Candidate for Robertson, Vania Holt, said the commuter carpark program was a mess.
“I’m not sure when the Member of Robertson was last in Woy Woy but there isn’t a lot of room for a big new carpark and if the idea is to upgrade Deepwater Plaza, what happens to parking in the meantime?” Holt said.
“How can they plan without community consultation?
“And, in three years they’ve managed to finish only three of these projects.
“In the case of Woy Woy, the Federal Government may have promised $5M, but we’re still waiting on a figure for a NSW Government contribution and there’s no construction timetable.
“It’s all a bit ‘Scotty from Announcements’ with no follow through.
“Surely, a well-thought-out transport plan for the Peninsula – with adequate, green public transport to get commuters to the station and home on time – would be a better use of the money.
“Frankly, the legendary Ettalong to Circular Quay ferry project has more chance of becoming reality than this does.”
The Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) report identified that the Department of Infrastructure had looked at four other potential sites – an existing Transport for NSW-owned carpark on Railway St, an existing carpark opposite The Pavilion, an existing carpark next to the Peninsula Plaza, and existing carparks opposite Woy Woy Oval.
Labor Candidate for Robertson, Gordon Reid, said “Coast commuters should not have to bear the brunt of empty political promises.
“There’s been no costings and there’s been no timeline and that has been absolutely crushing for our local hardworking community.
“I feel that when you are elected to represent your community [that] trust is everything and promises do matter.”