Page 4004 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 30 November 2022

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Kippax Fair—parking—petition 39-22

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (10.03): I present a petition signed by 536 ACT residents who want the parking crisis at the Kippax Group Centre to be fixed as a matter of urgency. I emphasise that these signatures were collected across only three days.

The 2019 Kippax master plan states that convenient and accessible parking at Kippax is of central importance. A 2014 study quoted in the master plan reveals that parking demand was then, “only one per cent below what is considered acceptable for peak car parking utilisation,” and added that, “it is important for this master plan to identify ways to increase and improve car parking in the centre to deal with future population growth”.

That parking survey was conducted almost nine years ago, and the Kippax master plan is now almost five years old. The future demand predicted in both documents is already here and steadily growing worse. The proposed expansion of the Kippax Fair shopping centre which was integrated into the government’s master plan includes an additional 450 parking spaces underground. If it had been allowed to proceed, this proposal would already have solved the parking crisis at Kippax. Instead, the redevelopment of the group centre has been stalled by years of government foot-dragging, including a decision in July 2020 to opt for a tender process. Expressions of interest for this tender closed 16 months ago but still there is no sign of progress.

In the meantime, it appears that the government has decided to fast track other developments at the Kippax Group Centre. Two weeks ago, a public car park with 66 all-day parking bays was sold off for development. In relation to this decision, the master plan clearly states that any redevelopment of existing car parks must “provide replacement public car parking”. It also states that “the existing provision of convenient and accessible car parking should be retained as development and redevelopment occur”, but the ACT government has violated its own master plan by providing no replacement parking to compensate for the loss of this now-closed car park.

Let me put this closure into perspective. According to the master plan, there were 552 public parking spaces in and along Hardwick Crescent. Eliminating 66 of these has slashed public parking at Kippax by 12 per cent, bringing an already bad situation to breaking point. There are now days and times when it is virtually impossible for shoppers to find any parking. Shoppers who cannot find anywhere to park drive away and take their business elsewhere. Traders at Kippax Fair report that foot traffic and sales have declined measurably since the car park was fenced off. There is a very real risk that some traders will not survive this loss of customers and revenue, especially as they approach the crucial Christmas shopping period.

The loss of 66 all-day parking bays also means that customers who require more than a short visit are arriving late to appointments or cancelling all together. Kippax Fair has about 100 workers on site and these staff no longer have sufficient places to park. Instead, they are forced to leave work intermittently to relocate their vehicles, sometimes needing to loop car parks a dozen times or more. Traders who are facing the failure of their businesses, and the good Canberrans who support them, are proposing three fixes to this crisis.

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