Council considers parking
INDIGO Shire councillors have rejected a proposal to purchase a newly available block of land in Beechworth for car parking.
At Tuesday night’s monthly meeting, councillors had the option to agree in principle to buy land at 63 High Street and to discuss the potential purchase further.
However, after Cr Larry Goldsworthy moved the motion the recommendation lapsed with no seconder.
Indigo Shire mayor Cr Jenny O’Connor said on Wednesday morning that councillors would rather see a car parking plan for Beechworth completed before committing to what would be a large financial investment by council.
Cr O’Connor said an action to develop a parking strategy for Beechworth and Yackandandah was added to the four-year Council Plan in June.
“The general feeling (by councillors) was that they wanted to see that work done before we try to find a solution,” Cr O’Connor said.
“Basically get the plan done and then look at some options rather than just buying land assuming that we are going to need it.
“There is a caution around just spending money without evidence behind it to say this is any important thing to do.”
An analysis of car parking in Beechworth identified that a number of areas experienced significant demand that exceeded 90 per cent usage for several hours during the middle of the day.
Camp Street between High and Ford streets was identified as an area with significant demand.
Shorter parking limits to facilitate greater turnover of vehicles has been suggested although it wasn’t viewed ideal for businesses in the vicinity.
A council report said the parcel of land at 63 High Street which was being advertised for $240,000 would allow for about 25 car parks to be constructed.
It was estimated that a further $20,000 would have to be spent to convert the block into an unsealed car park.
It is expected that the demand for parking in Beechworth will continue to grow as council completes projects such as the Beechworth/Yackandandah rail trail, Tourism Strategy and Historic Precinct Master Plan.
Cr O’Connor said discussions with Indio Shire chief executive Trevor Ierino indicated that council would soon look to develop the car parking plans for Beechworth and Yackandandah.
“It’s been on our long-term strategic plan since this current council came in but we just haven’t got around to it yet,” she said.
“In a way it (Tuesday’s decision) has put up a bit of a flag to say let’s get on with it because in fact we are potentially missing out on opportunities.”