Commuter parking will be the number one priority for the state government when works begin on the new $44 million Ballarat Station Precinct upgrade in the latter half of 2017, according to the Premier Daniel Andrews.
Stage one of the project will focus on delivering a multi-storey, 270-capacity commuter car park which will be located on the Nolan Street end of the precinct.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Andrews said the government’s priority was ensuring there would be as little disruption to commuter behavior as possible.
“The sequencing of this project is such where we don't have a loss of car parking,” Mr Andrews said. “We will build the new park so people can move into that, and then use the land which is currently being used for parking.”
Construction on the multi-storey car park is expected to begin by mid 2017, and could be completed by the end of the year.
While the new parking arrangement will see a dramatic increase in formal commuter parking at the precinct, there will be an overall reduction in free spaces available.
Currently there are 170 formal car parks at the station, while a count conducted by The Courier in early November showed more than 250 informal parks in the gravel section.
The government will develop 420 formal car parks at the precinct, however 150 of those will be designated to the hotel and convention centre.
Given this will be a commercial car park allocated to the hotel operator Quest, it is unknown if commuters will have any access to the parks.
Western Victoria MP Josh Morris criticised the government’s development plan, which will “slash the number of (commuter) car parks and move many of the remaining spaces further away”.
“The Andrews government is effectively slashing 120 parking spaces which are regularly at capacity,” Mr Morris said.
Mr Andrews said there was a provision for additional parking to be developed at the precinct, but did not offer any specifics on when or where it might be built.