NURSES, tradies and office workers will be forced out of a public carpark in Box Hill after Whitehorse Council decided to sell it to developers.
The council will now begin to offer the 84-space carpark at 2-4 Bruce St to developers on the condition they allocate at least 50 dwellings within any development on the site as social and affordable housing.
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Councillors at a meeting this week said talks were already well-progressed to move about 50 people living at the nearby Gowanlea retirement village to any development on the site, which sits in behind the Australian Taxation Office building.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Should the carpark be sold for development? Tell us below
There were almost 50 objectors to the council’s plans to sell the carpark, which will not be replaced elsewhere.
But Cr Sharon Ellis said she wasn’t focused on the loss of parking because she was “too busy being excited by this project”.
“In eastern Melbourne we are by far the most under-serviced in all of Victoria for affordable housing,” she said.
“This opportunity is too good to pass up.”
Cr Helen Harris rejected claims that getting rid of the carpark would impact Box Hill businesses, especially restaurants, saying that it was already of no benefit to them “whatsoever.”
Cr Harris said a traffic survey found the carpark had “clearly become the park of choice for tradespeople, Box Hill Hospital employees and ATO workers”.
She said the residents at Gowanlea were already excited about the move.
But Cr Robert Chong was furious to see the carpark up for sale.
“This will definitely cripple business in Box Hill,” he said.
“In the future development of Box Hill we need as much carparking space as possible.”
Cr Ben Stennett said people needed to realise the use of cars would become less in Box Hill, which has been identified as potentially Melbourne’s second CBD.
“The days of at-grade parking in Box Hill are going,” Cr Stennett said.
Cr Andrew Davenport unsuccessfully tried to find enough support for a condition of sale that the developer must include 40 public carpark spaces available.
The council will also soon decide whether or not to finalise its intention to sell another major Box Hill carpark, with 160 spaces, on the corner of Station and Cambridge streets.
Read more at http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/east/whitehorse-council-to-sell-busy-box-hill-carpark-for-affordable-housing-and-retirement-living/news-story/75b194076242b11cc0b6dd0e6cce25c7