Hospital parking pain to be eased by council land sale
At Thursday's meeting, the councillors voted to sell 31,800sq m of land, enough for about 800 new car parking spaces, for a price described as "in line with the land's market value".
Parking is at a premium at the health campus, with those who arrive by car often facing a long walk from their vehicle to their destination.
The land in question is part of the Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park Precinct and a lengthy debate by the councillors concerned the future use of the proceeds of the sale.
The councillors finally agreed to the staff recommendation to invest the money for six months and then consider a report with recommendations for other facilities and improvements.
Cr Arkan, who originally wanted the council to donate land for the car park, was in favour of using the proceeds to tackle the infrastructure back log but other councillors were reluctant, with Cr Sally Townley saying it was customary to use the money from asset sales in the same geographic area or for a similar purpose to the asset sold.
As an example of the disadvantages of ignoring this principle, former mayor Cr Keith Rhoades said the money raised by the sale of land to build the Centro Toormina shopping centre had been used to build the former City Centre mall. The mall was later demolished.
The new hospital car park will have a right of way over Phil Hawthorne Dr, which will be reconstructed by NSW Health but maintained by the council.
This will provide a secondary access from the health campus on to Stadium Dr, except during floods.
Cr Nan Cowling tried to persuade engineering staff that maintenance work on Hawthorne Dr should be funded from developer contributions to the road network, since the new car park will alter road usage patterns, but was told Hawthorne Dr was not officially a local road in the normal sense at all, just a parcel of land the council had used to construct a road.