Narooma Midtown car park proves controversial

THE Eurobodalla Shire Council recently approved its own proposal to build a 29-space car park behind the Vinnies store and next to the Narooma Catholic Church.

The church however is opposed to the car park based on the proximity to its living quarters and has also expressed concern at the cost and extent of the large ravine that is going to need to be filled in.

The church has expressed its views in a letter in today’s edition.

Council says approximately 1850 tonnes of fill will be used behind a retaining wall structure to level the site to make it suitable.

The plans for the new car park were developed by council’s technical services area and the structural elements of the plans were certified by an independent structural engineer.

A council spokesperson confirmed a Development Application (DA) was lodged by council for the development of the Canty Street car park and was placed on public exhibition for 28 days.

The application was assessed against council’s planning requirements and a recommendation was made to the ordinary meeting of council on November 26.

Members of the community including representatives from the Catholic Church next door presented their objections but the DA application was approved at this same meeting.

The need for further car parking in Narooma was identified in the February 2011 Moruya and Narooma Parking Study.

This study was adopted by council in October 2011 following community consultation, the spokesperson said.

Deputy mayor Neil Burnside along with other councillors voted for the motion.

“The Catholic community wanted the car park elsewhere, but when you look at the area in question, the site of the priest's house and the shortage of mid-town parking, it's clear that the problem was always something that was going to raise its head after the church build the house there, in what is, essentially, a commercial area behind the Midtown shops,” Clr Burnside said.

“A car park is probably the least intrusive of what could have gone there. Staff, with the church community, looked for another suitable site to locate the car park, but, unfortunately, there isn't one.

“I recognise that the car park will have an impact on the amenity of the priest and this was a consideration in our deliberations. However the benefit for the greater community must be the first priority.”

Council staff has offered to assist in screening the area to improve privacy for the house occupants, he said.

Mayor Lindsay Brown said he also voted for the DA.

“Neil and I are responsible for the interests of the whole community and are at times asked to make decisions that are not universally accepted,” Clr Brown said.

“With this in mind, I stand by the decision of council and look forward to an expansion of parking opportunities in the centre of town.”

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