A reduction in the number of carparking spaces in the VicRoads building in Sunshine could significantly impact businesses, local traders have warned.
A proposed development of the building will remove 90 carparking spaces and a childcare centre, replacing them with two additional levels of office space and taking the building to a total of nine storeys.
Sunshine Business Association president Carson Luk welcomed the move to bring more office workers into the area, but not at the expense of a reduction in carparking.
“We have immediate concerns on carparking for customers visiting the town centre and for traders loading and unloading goods,” he said.
“Small businesses around the town centre, and especially the traders adjoining the VicRoads building site, have left or are beginning to leave the area due to the ongoing and significant losses attributed back to the loss of carparking spaces for their customers.
“Sunshine traders have already suffered significant lost revenue attributed back to a lack of carparking and any further reduction in carparking … will further increase this revenue loss.”
Brimbank councillors reluctantly agreed to approve a planning permit subject to the applicant entering into a section 173 agreement, under which it would provide a cash contribution to the council to be put toward improving transport in the area.
The council decided that any rejection of the application would likely be over-ruled by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and thus the best option was to gain a financial win from the situation.
Cr John Hedditch said he felt pincered by the dilemma.
“This particular site and the history of it continues to create attention within the community,” Cr Hedditch said.
“We have the VicRoads site, the Withers Street carpark, which is a source of daily frustration for local residents. It’s a bit of a nightmare. We’ve had a development approval, we’ve had changes, we’ve had VCAT decisions which have over-ridden council decisions and we’ve ended up with this before us.
“My gut tells me we need to support more carparking in the area, my gut tells me we won’t win at VCAT if we don’t put this through.
“With what we have in front of us … I think, sadly, that I have to put my vote towards supporting this, even though I know it will have an impact on carparking in the area immediately.”
The application was passed by council pending the introduction of the section 173 agreement.