It was a cold, wet, blustery and rather understated celebration, but the 300-space Creswick Road car park is finally available to the public.
Mayor Ben Taylor and City of Ballarat infrastructure and environment director Terry Demeo opened the leased car park on Thursday afternoon, with Cr Taylor saying the delays in making the car park ready were finally overcome in the past few weeks.
Formerly a Shell fuel depot and vacant for many years, council has leased the site from B&J O'Shannassy Management Pty Ltd, a Bannockburn-based company, at a per annum rate of $200,000.
Following extended and extensive soil reparation works and a decision to move from a gravel surface to a bitumen-sealed one, the car park's opening was repeatedly put back. It was initially slated to open in September 2018.
The decision to seal the surface was done with the consideration of GovHub employees in mind
"Initial discussions were around trying to do as much as we could with the bare minimum, around what the site is," Cr Taylor said.
"But after doing the work, as you can see, we've had to lift that grade right up, around the boundary
"There was a lot of works that weren't really planned for, and in doing them it caused delays."
"To service its ultimate purpose in terms of GovHub, the expectation of the employee base of GovHub, they would not have used and certainly wouldn't have welcomed a carpark that was substandard," said Terry Demeo.
THE SAGA OF THE CRESWICK ROAD CAR PARK
- New Creswick Road car park to wind up after GovHub completion (June 2018)
- Creswick Road carpark to open mid-February (January, 2019)
- Creswick Road car park opening delayed after soil problems (March, 2019)
- Creswick Road paid car parks delayed by weather (July, 2019)
- Creswick Road car park in Ballarat CBD delayed again (September, 2019)
- Long-awaited Creswick Road car park didn't go to tender despite cost (October 2019)
- Ballarat's Creswick Road car park still empty (November 2019)
Mr Demeo said that, as the state government is funding the project, the decision to upgrade the car park was made in consultation with them, as the $2 million funding provided by the government was 'effectively compensation for the demolition of the all-day car park' in Armstrong Street.
Cr Taylor said the likelihood of the city renewing its lease on the car park was a possibility, but would have to considered in light of other works going ahead courtesy of the $14 million promised to Ballarat in November last year by the Andrews government.
"We'll assess that coming onto the next three years... there's going to be a whole lot of activity going on around the city in relation to parking."
"The lease has been undertaken in consultation with the landowner, they have an asset to look after... and their verbal intent is to keep using it as a car park," Mr Demeo said.