An artist's impression of the justice centre planned for the highway/ Beryl St corner.
An artist's impression of the justice centre planned for the highway/ Beryl St corner.

Justice precinct lacks parking

SERIOUS concerns have been raised about the plans for the $70 million Justice Precinct which the State Government wants to build on the corner of Beryl St.

Respected local builder and developer Peter Lubans is worried about the likely impact of the development on local residents and commercial business operators as well as the rushed way the project has been handled.

"The public exhibition period was just two weeks and the sheer volume and complexity of the accompanying paperwork was almost overwhelming," Mr Lubans said.

"Even with my background as a builder it was hard going."

Specifically, Mr Lubans is concerned about parking and access issues.

He said the Traffic and Parking report states there will be no on-site staff parking at the police station which at peak times will house more than 100 employees.

"I'm worried not just about how officers will get to and from the new station but the impact on the lives of nearby residents.

"Will the streets around the new complex become clogged with parked cars or will staff and officers be forced to walk from the Elbow St car park which is already full most working days?

"The Traffic and Parking report also indicates that there will be 20 permanent staff in the proposed court house but parking on site only for judges and magistrates (11 spaces).

"Are all other staff and lawyers also expected to ride a bike or take a bus? Where is the allowance for jury persons who may sit all day?

"Coffs Harbour isn't blessed with the public transport and cycleway facilities of Sydney but there seems to be presumption that it is."

Mr Lubans is also worried about access issues, with the attached plans showing only pedestrian access from the highway and Beryl St and the only vehicular access via June St.

"June St is an already congested industrial and business area but it seems that it will be the only way for police cars to enter and exit the complex," Mr Lubans said.

"There is no bus egress bay on the highway to set people down and no pedestrian crossing for those forced to park on the eastern side of the highway.

"It would be unfortunate if the development suffers from similar lack of parking problems to that of the health campus to the south of the city and the development at Bray St and the highway."

However, what intrigues Peter Lubans most is that what is on some of the plans does not appear on others.

"Some plans show vacant open space at the rear of the police complex, which I argue would be ideal for a car park, but on other illustrations that area is developed as a state office block.

"If that office block goes ahead the access and parking issues will become an even bigger nightmare.

"The public, especially land- owners in the immediate vicinity have a right to know the overall plans for the precinct and how the increased traffic and density of uses will affect them."

Approval of the precinct has been taken out of the council's hands and will be determined by the State Government.

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