Council moves to surrender lease on commuter car park at Sutherland

Sutherland Shire Council proposes to surrender the lease of a commuter car park it has held from the rail authority for 58 years.

The car park, in East Parade, Sutherland, 200 metres south of the station, is in a serious state of disrepair, with the patched up, old bitumen seal dotted with potholes, which fill with rainwater.

Complaints by commuters and residents led the council last year to ask Transport for NSW to work together to upgrade the car park, which has been leased since 1963.

Two thirds of the land belongs to the rail authority and the council owns the other portion.

Transport for NSW rejected the request, saying it was a council responsibility and refused to even share the cost.

The car park has 60-65 spaces at present, but a preliminary upgrade design indicates it could provide up to 78 spaces.

Labor councillor Diedree Steinwall, who first raised the issue, moved at this month's meeting of the Shire Services Committee the council pursue negotiations with TfNSW and offer to design and project manage an upgrade, with an agreed funding deal.

The motion also called for the council to seek support from state and federal MPs.

However, Liberal councillors successfully supported the staff recommendation to surrender the lease.

Cr John Riad said it was a state government responsibility "and I don't think the council should get involved".

Cr Carmelo Pesce said, "I don't think we should be offering to design and project manage something when the majority of the land belongs to the state government".

Cr Greg McLean supported continuing negotiations, saying COVID stimulus funds could be available.

A Transport for NSW spokeswoman told the Leader the lease agreement required the council "to maintain the entire space".

"As per the lease requirements the commuter carpark must be returned to good condition by Sutherland Shire Council before the lease can be surrendered," she said.

"Because the car park is half on council land and half on TAHE (Transport Asset Holding Entity of NSW) land there would need to be a new agreement over management and maintenance of the car park before the lease can be surrendered."

The council will finalise its position at its July 26 meeting .

Cr Steinwall said the commuter car park was"now an uncertain mess".

"Liberal councillors have abandoned residents and washed their hands of doing any work to secure state government funding for the upgrade. We are now faced with an uncertain future, with a car park that is unsightly and quite unsafe."