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Developers dish on plans for Akuna Street car park

The Bugle App

Brendon Foye

07 March 2024, 9:20 PM

Developers dish on plans for Akuna Street car park

Kiama residents have a clearer understanding of what the proposed $66 million development on Akuna Street will look like after the developers, Level 33, made a trove of new documents available for exhibition.


Last month, Level 33 lodged its initial development application, which will see 344 basement car parking spaces, 24 retail premises, two supermarkets and 82 residential units built on the property.



With the latest round of documents lodged, residents will have some of their lingering questions answered, while other issues remain unresolved, such as what residents and workers who currently park their cars at the Akuna Street car park will do once construction begins.


Visuals


One of the most immediate aspects of the development that will impact everyone, from residents to workers to tourists, is the visual amenity.


Kiama Council controversially agreed to raise the building height limit for Akuna Street to six storeys after selling the property to Level 33, leading residents to question how much of the town’s skyline the new building will occupy.


The latest Visual Impact Assessment created by Urbaine Design Group shows exactly how much of the horizon will be blocked, especially for those already living on Akuna Street where the building height limit was not increased.


Traffic


One of the recently lodged documents was a Traffic Impact Assessment commissioned to Traffix, which shows that 163 of the planned 344 parking spaces will be reserved for residents of the above dwellings, while 181 parking spaces will be set aside for supermarket and retail shoppers and workers. The development will also include 21 adaptable car spaces for residents, and one accessible car space for visitors. For the retail component, there will be eight accessible car spaces.


The Traffic Impact Assessment also looked at the impact that increased traffic will have on the centre of the town, stating that “...the development proposal will not result in any unacceptable traffic implications, and all nearby critical intersections are expected to continue to operate satisfactorily, and as such, there are no road improvements or intersection upgrades required.”



The report showed that there will be 136 additional vehicle trips per hour (cars going in and out of the car park) during the morning peak period, and 490 trips per hour during the afternoon peak.


The Bugle has previously asked Kiama Council and Level 33 about where workers who currently use the car park will park during construction. We will update readers if we hear a satisfactory response from either party.


Economics


HillPA Consulting was commissioned to provide an Economic Impact Report, which found the Akuna Street development will generate around 170 jobs on the site, including 111 in the two supermarkets and 54 in other retail shops. These employees will contribute around $9.6 million to the local economy each year. For a wider context, potential retail sales in Kiama’s town centre is expected to increase from $242 million in 2022 to $371 million by 2036, according to HillPA.




The report also states that “there will be no adverse impacts on other centres” like the CBDs of Gerringong and Jamberoo. “Given that the site is inside the Kiama Town Centre the overall impacts of the development for the town centre as a whole will be net positive,” the report states. The report however does not take into account the impact on the existing businesses on Terralong Street which the new development will overlook.


You can check out all the planning documents for yourself on Kiama Council’s Development Application Portal here. You can also provide your feedback to Kiama Council and Level 33 directly from the portal.


The Development Application for Akuna Street is on exhibition until 15 March 2024. The Southern Regional Planning Panel will have the final say on approval for Akuna Street, which is composed of experts appointed by the State Government and Council.