ORANGE City Council should make the Ophir car park free and redevelop the site as a multistorey car park to ease parking congestion caused by Service NSW, according to councillor Ron Gander.
Cr Gander criticised the state government’s decision to relocate the Roads and Maritime Services’ (RMS) motor registry from Leewood Estate as part of the one-stop-shop Service NSW centre on the corner of Lords Place and Kite Street last September.
Five months on, he believes the pressure the centre has put on parking in the area has made his objection valid.
“I used the RMS office the other day and if you’re fit and able it’s a good facility, but there are still some difficulties,” he said.
“Parking is going to be a very big issue in the next three to 10 years.”
Cr Gander said Service NSW’s onsite car park was filled with staff vehicles and businesses in McNamara Lane were suffering from the parking shortage.
Drivers pay $3 for all-day parking at the council owned Ophir car park.
He wants the fee scrapped.
John Cook Real Estate principal John Cook said parking availability in Lords Place had not changed since Service NSW opened.
He said the paid parking system at Ophir car park worked well, but suggested the council could consider a discount for regular users.
Although Cr Gander concedes the council would lose revenue if the car park was free, he believes money would be saved elsewhere and hopes for a six-month trial.
He also wants the council to look for a joint venture to redevelop the Ophir car park, now plans to create a multistorey shopping centre and car park at the Anson Street car park, near Woolworths, have stalled.
He believes redeveloping the Anson Street car park would put the busy car park out of action for up to 12 months while building work was underway.
“If you took that car park away for 12 months those businesses would go broke. It would bankrupt the shop owners in Summer Street,” he said.
“I believe you could do it bit by bit at the Ophir car park.”