Watch this (parking) space

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NEWS that some Canberra developers are looking at options to offer lower-priced residential units and less traffic congestion in return for fewer car parking spaces in housing projects in inner suburbs has been met in some quarters with howls of protest.

Amongst the strongest complaints is the assertion that not providing dedicated car-parking spaces under apartment buildings is just another “developer rip-off” that will result in parking chaos.

However, the fact is that not everyone in Canberra drives. Most adults do, but not everyone. I know of people who live close to their work and who prefer to walk or cycle and to get a taxi for transport, say, late at night.

The reasoning behind offering some apartments without dedicated parking spots is simple. There is a chronic dearth of affordable housing in Canberra. Reducing (but not removing) some parking spaces under apartments located close to town centres and major employment (with viable transport alternatives to the car), allows the delivery of lower-priced apartments than would otherwise be possible.

Basement parking construction is a significant development cost factor, typically costing around $35,000 to $45,000 per space.

For many first-home buyers, a unit without an associated parking space priced around $40,000 cheaper could be an attractive option.
As with all such initiatives, this won’t suit everyone, but some people don’t require parking and shouldn’t have to pay for it.

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Catherine Carter
Former ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia

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