Help is finally on the way to solve what many residents argue is Sunbury’s biggest issue – carparking.
The state government has announced more than 300 new carparking spaces are on the way for Sunbury station.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the exact location of the new carparks was being finalised, but that funding had been secured for construction, which is expected to start early 2019.
The project will be funded in the 2018-19 state budget in which $60 million will be allocated for 2000 extra carparking spaces, secure bicycle storage facilities and better pedestrian access at Melbourne train stations.
Sunbury MP Josh Bull said the government was still in discussion with local stakeholders and Hume council to work around the “complex mix of land ownership and regulatory arrangements” in Sunbury CBD to secure the best site for the carparks.
He hinted a multi-storey approach was likely.
“There’s only a limited amount of space available,” he said. “It only makes sense to go up.”
He said he was thrilled to be able to help alleviate the frustration surrounding Sunbury’s lack of carparking.
Local groups and residents have been pushing for more parking in Sunbury CBD for years, with the existing carparks at Sunbury station usually filled by commuters before 7.30am.
Sunbury Residents Association president Peter Free said the announcement came as a great relief after a long-time campaign by the association for more parking in the town.
“That’s fantastic news,” Mr Free said. “It will take pressure off the rest of the town – at the moment we’re really struggling.”
Some local businesses have been attributing the lack of carparking in Sunbury CBD to a significant downturn in local business.
Sunbury Business Association secretary and shop owner Sylvia Unferdorben told Star Weekly in August that her discussions with community members revealed accessibility to the town was Sunbury’s “biggest issue”.
She said residents had told her they no longer bothered going into Sunbury to shop, instead preferring the longer parking times and availability of carparks at Watergardens and Highpoint shopping centres.
Hume residents labelled traffic and parking management as the municipality’s biggest issue in the council’s Community Survey 2017-18.
Almost 50 per cent of respondents from the Jacksons Creek ward, which is made up of Sunbury, Bulla and Oaklands Junction, nominated carparking as the main issue in the ward.