High density plan to replace 170 car spaces
A community workshop held by Gosford Council to discuss a "village master plan" for Umina has heard of plans for Gosford Council sell off around 170 parking spaces in the free council car park, according to Cr Peter Freewater.
The area would instead contain high density apartment blocks, commercial premises, and a number of small 20 by 20 metre courtyards.
After attending the Plan and Village Master Plan community workshop held by Gosford Council at Umina on Tuesday, March 20, Cr Peter Freewater claimed that the meeting was used only to canvas the idea of redeveloping the free council car park into a civic place, and that it was "a blatant con job".
"The consultants tried to tell us that we need the extra commercial premises to accommodate the growth of Umina," said Cr Freewater.
"The shop owners in the audience strongly disagreed, stating that there were already vacant shops along West St and such a development would only serve to isolate them just as Erina did to Gosford," he said.
Cr Freewater also pointed out that the new LEP allowed for four storey developments in the precinct so there would be plenty of room to accommodate more shops without taking away the main car park that services the shops.
Cr Freewater claimed that by the meeting's conclusion it was very evident that the only reason it had been held was so that Council could say they had consulted the community.
It was also evident that the community were not in favour of sacrificing parking for a new "civic place", he said.
Cr Freewater noted that in his personal discussions with the participants prior to the civic place being put on the agenda, they had all stressed how important they felt parking to be.
"What I heard more than anything else was how important parking is to the success of the Umina shopping strip," said Cr Freewater.
"Some people even went as far to draw a big heart on the free Council car park and referred to this car park as the heart of the area."
When the consultants asked participants what sort of developments they would like to see in the new Civic Place, Cr Freewater said he pointed out that it would need to have at least as many free public parking spots as are currently available on the site.