Close to five years after the top two tiers of the Donald Street carpark in the heart of Nelson Bay was closed due to structural damage Port Stephens Council has declared that it will be torn down.
Demolition of the structure will be fully funded through the council's $15.9 million Port Stephens 2020 works program and is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 28 with the closure of the carpark.
It is the third major project being complete as part of Nelson Bay Next. Once demolished, the space will be turned into level parking.
"Port Stephens Council has been driving progress in Nelson Bay through our brand Nelson Bay Next. We've completed the Yacaaba Street extension, we're revitalising Apex Park and now we're getting rid of an eyesore which is detracting from the visual appeal of Nelson Bay," Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said of the project.
"After years of inaction in the town centre, it's fantastic to see progress on three key actions from the Nelson Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy."
The carpark, which was built in 1991, was closed by the council in November 2014 after an independent assessment found structural damage to be present.
Levels one and two of the carpark, totalling 114 spaces, were closed but the ground level and land immediately next to the structure were kept open for parking.
To alleviate parking pressure in the Nelson Bay CBD after the closure, the council opened two new car lots, providing 125 parking spaces, in Yacaaba Street and Government Road.
In the past five years there has been calls from organisations, businesses and councillors to repurpose the carpark or tear it down.
Most recently, in March, East Ward councillor John Nell lodge a notice of motion to call on the council to "cough up some of its own money" to tear the "terrible eyesore" down and replace it with new parking.
The demolition project was added to the Port Stephens 2020 program.
Last Wednesday, October 16, the council announced it would be fully funding the demolition of the structure and replacing it with level parking, which would add 30 new parking spaces in the Bay CBD.
"This is one of the first Port Stephens 2020 projects to get underway, so it's very exciting," Cr Palmer said. "Our East Ward residents told us this was one of their main priorities during consultation in July and I'm proud that Council has been able to make it happen."
Phil Miles, the council's capital works section manager, said the demolition works will be completed before Christmas.
"We know Nelson Bay is busy during the holiday period, so works will take a break over Christmas and construction of the new carpark will begin in February 2020," he said.
"Unmarked parking will be available during that period. There will be noise and some dust as part of the demolition works and traffic controls will be in place to manage the trucks transporting materials offsite. We've been working closely with building owners around the site who are likely to be affected," he said.
During the works, free on street parking will be available in the Nelson Bay CBD, Victoria Parade and Teramby Road.
Free off street parking will be available on the corner Yacaaba and Donald streets, d'Albora Marina, Government Road next to the Nelson Resort, Donald Street opposite Woolworths and Woolworths underground parking. Time restrictions apply.