Council considers buying more car parks

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 15:20 09/01/2014

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The Invercargill City Council is holding negotiations with a Southland business to buy two inner city properties to turn into car parks - about two years after the council sold a 90-space car park in the same area.

The properties have a combined capital value of $470,000.

Councillor Graham Sycamore, who is the new head of the inner-city redevelopment, said the council had been holding negotiations with the The Southland Times, which is owned by Fairfax Media.

The media company owns the two properties, one in Esk St and one in Deveron St, that the council is interested in turning into car parks, Mr Sycamore said.

The purchase would make up for the lack of car parking spaces since the council sold its car parking area on the corner of Don and Deveron streets to Calder Stewart in 2011, he said.

That land will now be built on, housing a two-level office building with 2000 square metres of space.

Invercargill GP Nick Terpstra highlighted his concerns about the lack of carparking last month, saying he was frustrated that the council had sold its car parking area on the corner of Don and Deveron streets and he was worried about the safety of his patients.

The news of the council looking to purchase more car parks to make up for the loss of the 90 car park space was "a step in the right direction", he said.

However, with the building on the Deveron and Don streets property, there would be several hundred more people working in the area that needing parking, he said.

"The biggest question is why did they sell the car park in the first place?"

Invercargill City Council chief executive Richard King and director of policy and finance Dean Johnston were both unavailable for comment, and acting chief executive Cameron McIntosh referred The Times to councillor Neil Boniface.

Mr Boniface, the chairman of the finance and policy committee, refused to comment on the possible purchase.

However, he did say the previous idea of the council purchasing three other car parking areas in Esk St, all of which it is leasing at present, had never come to fruition.

The Southland Times commercial manager Sue Gregory confirmed the council had held discussions with the company, but the company had been in talks with several parties about its land, she said.

"The Southland Times' warehouses located in Esk and Deveron streets are surplus to business requirements as we no longer store newsprint on site," she said.

"Discussions regarding options to purchase these buildings were held with several interested parties but there has been no formal offer accepted."

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- The Southland Times

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