Parking chaos around Warrnambool Base Hospital, where neigbouring residents complain of increasing volumes of cars parked all day on nature strips, has been linked to a former state government.
Last night Warrnambool city council heard the government had been able to avoid stringent parking requirements when gaining planning approval for the recent $115 million redevelopment of the hospital campus and community health centre.
City growth director Bill Millard revealed governments were able to step over local planning laws on major service projects.
“One of the challenges for us is a state government will generally elect to exempt itself from the local planning process,” he said.
“Normally the city council would stipulate parking requirements.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have much clout.”
The explanation came in answer to a question from Koroit Street resident Vincent Gagniere, who asked why the hospital project was allowed to proceed without adequate parking provisions being enforced as happened with recent local industrial projects.
Mr Millard said changes had to be done by the council after the approval process. Another Koroit Street resident, Michael Roche, asked if council had a plan to remedy the problem.
City infrastructure director Peter Robertson said a proposal was being formulated for the precinct extending from Merri Street to Raglan Parade and from Henna Street to the hospital.
“We hope to bring it to council in the next month or so,” Mr Robertson said.
Cr Peter Hulin said a simple solution would be to carve indented parking bays into nature strips.
“Stop mucking around on this,” he said.
“The answer is not to park cars on the road.”
Cr Peter Sycopoulis said council must involve residents in discussions.
“I had a look the other day and couldn’t believe it — there were cars everywhere on nature strips,” he said.
Cr Kylie Gaston said she too was determined to find a solution and Cr Rob Askew said “parking was well and truly on the council agenda”.
South West Healthcare’s base hospital first stage redevelopment was officially opened by former Liberal premier Ted Baillieu in September 2011.
It was funded and approved under the former Brumby Labor government when the now opposition leader Daniel Andrews was health minister.