Plans for the University of Tasmania to build a $5 million car park at Invermay have been approved, however a commercial lease will still need to be worked out before it can progress.
The City of Launceston council approved the development application at 2-4 Invermay Road off Forster Street for the 852 car park on Thursday at its meeting.
The car park will be available for use by both the public and UTAS students/staff as part of the university’s $360 million relocation plans.
Twenty-six conditions are included in the DA, including road widening on Forster St, additional footpaths and a revised car park layout and landscaping plans to reflect the requirements of the Heritage Council of Tasmania.
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Six representations from the public were received against the DA during its multiple advertising periods. Several issues were raised but the main concerns focused heavily on traffic congestion.
The DA’s traffic impact assessment found the car park met traffic requirements despite likely attracting an additional 4272 vehicles per day.
Councillor Hugh McKenzie acknowledged the angst over traffic issues but said he was very comfortable with the traffic conditions at the site.
He said anecdotally he knew the area coped with weekend sport at Churchill Park and therefore should manage the increase of weekday traffic. Adding it was important to remember it was a DA for a car park and not for the university relocating to the precinct.
Prior to the council’s decision on the DA, an external consultant had assessed it and found, subject to conditions, it complied and therefore should be approved by the council.
The DA approval came after a lengthy process and still requires one final step, a commercial lease with the council.
The council’s chief executive officer Michael Stretton reiterated the DA was only assessed against the planning scheme and commercial elements of the car park would be matters considered in the lease.
Meaning the site’s maintenance costs, the cost of the lease and other aspects would not be considered during the DA approval. These instead would be addressed by the council in lease agreements.
If a lease agreement can not be worked out between the council and UTAS in regards to the site, or councillors reject it when tabled, the car park will not go ahead.
Councillor Janie Finlay said the community’s interests, regarding any site costs to the council, would be protected and represented during lease agreement negotiations.
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