By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Heat stress has paralysed the elevators in Springvale’s beleaguered 8 Balmoral Avenue car park.
During the recent heatwave, the elevators have been seizing up “almost every day” including at peak-time on weekends, Springvale councillor Richard Lim says.
Prior to that, the lifts in the six-deck, 517-space facility were already breaking down every fortnight, he said.
“If you’re elderly or you have young children, how are you going to walk up the stairs to the fourth or fifth floor in this heat?”
Springvale North councillor Sean O’Reilly recalled the lifts also malfunctioned eight years ago.
“With the amount of usage it gets, you’d have to wonder on its life cycle.”
Engineering director Paul Kearsley said the most recent malfunctions were still under investigation by technicians.
“But it appears that the extreme weather may have been a contributing factor.
“Complete replacement is not expected in the near future but consideration will be given to any improvements recommended at the conclusion of the technicians’ investigations.”
Since built by private developers in 2011, the ‘No.8’ car park has been plagued by a litany of problems including broken ticket machines, broken boom gates and cars being trapped in its tight corners.
The council contributed to the construction for an extra two levels to create more public parking.
It recently allocated $942,793 in its 2021-’22 budget for new one-way ramps to bypass three of the tightest corners.
“The proposed access ramp upgrades … are still in the design development phase,” Mr Kearsley said.
“A timeline will be determined when the works are put out for tender.”
Cr Lim says the corner re-design should attract drivers back into the often half-empty car park.
Many had been deterred by the numerous head-on bingles and scrapes on the tight, blind corners between levels, he said.
Cars are regularly wedged at the corners for up to 20 minutes, with long traffic queues behind them. In an emergency, the result could be dire, Cr Lim says.
The project should prove cost-effective for the council in the long-term by attracting an extra $700,000 revenue a year if fully utilized, Cr Lim said.