PLANS for a multi-level car park are the talk of the town in Orange at the moment, but councillor Warren Aubin says that, in reality, Bathurst is further along with its plans.
Orange City Council is asking its residents where they believe a new multi-level car park should be located, and has allocated $4.5 million in the 2022-23 financial year to build the structure.
In Bathurst, people have been calling for years for a multi-storey car park to be built in the central business district to address a shortage of parking.
The calls did not result in much action, that is, until the plans to build a parking structure behind Bathurst RSL Club were announced.
The car park would be part of a bigger development, which would see an integrated medical centre built on the old Clancy Motors site in Howick Street.
Cr Aubin said the fact that Bathurst had a location chosen, initial plans drawn, and a party committed to building it, meant that it was well ahead of Orange in delivering the infrastructure.
"They're only picking spots, they haven't got any actual plans or anything," he said.
"... We do have plans for a multi-level car park in the RSL car park to go alongside the private hospital that's planned to go in there, and that will be huge.
"That's where Bathurst is at. I did read the story about Orange looking at their situation, but they're only looking - they haven't got any plans or anything. They're not any further ahead, in fact, we're probably further ahead than they are.
"We actually have plans drawn and a spot to put it."
He said what delayed plans eventuating in Bathurst was the cost involved and the need for there to be a return on an investment by making the structure paid parking.
Cr Aubin believes that any multi-level car park would be underutilised if drivers had to pay.
The plans for the private medical facility and car park are a joint effort between a development consortium, Bathurst RSL Club and Bathurst Regional Council.
Bathurst RSL general manager Peter Sargent said that plans are still be finalised, but the intention is to offer free car parking.
He said the facility, which could be ready to use in as little as two years, will make a big difference for parking in the CBD.
"Bathurst needs more parking, it's that simple, and Bathurst needs more parking in the CBD, not on the outside of town, and that's what we're trying to achieve," Mr Sargent said.
"At the end, the club's main focus is to try to improve parking and also make sure this block is developed the right way."
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