There’s a comprehensive article in the Examiner today about the legal battle over the acquisition of the Paterson Street central car park site. A year on from the Creative Precinct’s announcement, there’s still an underutilised car park there and no sign of that changing anytime soon.
Without doubt, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes and ultimately, you have to let these legal processes run their course. Frustrating as it is, the Chamber would never endorse a position where the current owners receive a return on their investment less than it’s worth, but equally, there’s that and holding up progress. It’s hard to see a solution that doesn’t somehow wind up costing the City more than anticipated; and they’ll be pilloried if it does… We KNOW they want progress as much as anybody else but they’re between a rock & a hard place. Any one of the options – a protracted lengthy legal battle, a cave-in to an inflated purchase price, or any other solution exposes Council to cost blowouts… but what is the price of progress?
You see, it’s not just about the car park… It’s about what it unleashes… It’s the relocation of the bus stops in St John Street to a newly created Bus Terminal on that car park, It’s the pedestrian thoroughfare between Paterson St and The Mall, it’s the opening up of St John St with the City Heart 2 project and associated greening & traffic calming initiatives; it’s the Creative Precinct that positions Launceston as a city of arts; it’s the pent-up private capital investment that’s wanting to invest and reinvigorate the Launceston CBD… It’s all the things we want for Launceston and the car park acquisition is the Keystone.
We wish Council nothing but success here. We need Council to prevail – If it’s not solved soon, impatient investors will look further afield for opportunities and Launceston will be worse for it.