POLL: Paid parking for Charlestown

NO PARKS: Leo Nicola says no to parking meters. PAID parking is being investigated as a way to alleviate problems in Charlestown central business district, Lake Macquarie City Council officials say.

NO SPACE: John Russell wants parking plans progressed. Picture: Anita Jones

Parking has been a problem in Charlestown for years and is expected to worsen with an extra 500 workers planned in the town in July.

HealthShare NSW, a branch of NSW Health, is planning to house 440 office workers in the Sky Central building in Charlestown in July.

A further 65 workers will start work at a National Disability Insurance Scheme regional office in Hilltop Plaza.

Cr Barry Johnston said a new multi-level car park with paid parking should be considered.

Cr Johnston said he was open to discussing street parking meters, but he was “not a supporter” of the concept.

Parking was a Lake Macquarie City Council responsibility, he said.

Cr Johnston said the council had considered the parking problem but had not “followed through on it”.

A council statement said it was investigating paid parking and additional off-street parking.

The council said it was examining the “potential use of spare car parking capacity in privately owned developments”.

The council released a plan in 2007 for an underground car park in Tallarah Street, Charlestown, along with a park, theatre and conference centre.

Cr Johnston said the council did not have the money for the proposed underground car park and until they did more temporary parking should be created.

The council-owned former public school site at Charlestown, on the Pacific Highway, with a rear access in Smith Street, is used for temporary parking.

The council is planning to demolish a building on the site, which Cr Johnston said should be used to expand temporary parking.

Charlestown Business Chamber president Jason Pauling, who is a Lake Macquarie councillor, opposes street parking meters. He said people still loved their cars and Lake Macquarie was not ready for paid parking.

Businesses push for solution

BUSINESSMAN Leo Nicola hopes he never sees street parking meters in Charlestown.

‘‘Parking is tough enough as it is,’’ said Mr Nicola, who co-owns Charlestown shop, Carla Swimwear.

But Mr Nicola would not oppose a multi-level car park being built in the town with paid parking.

Lake Macquarie City Council revealed plans in 2007 for an underground car park in Tallarah Street, Charlestown, but the plan is on the backburner.

Russell Property Partners owner John Russell said the council should progress the plan.

Mr Russell said Charlestown would become ‘‘more densely populated and people should become accustomed to that’’.

‘‘Temporary car parking is not the answer,’’ Mr Russell said.

Some business owners believe the council should do more to police parking in time-limited zones in the town.