Bassadone takes over half of Govt-built carpark
|Motor company Bassadone have acquired 3 floors, which represents about half, of the Govt-built multi-storey carpark in Devil's Tower Road, which was meant to be the 'centre-piece' of the previous government's parking schemes.
There is criticism of Bassadone moving in as they have done in other parts of Gibraltar, including the town centre where they have been using the multi-storey carpark on the old naval ground. The public were expelled by the previous administration from the use of the top floors on the grounds that the building was defective, although it was not defective for Bassadone to use it for their export business.
On this occasion, Bassadone is to vacate its use of other storage space where Toyota and other vehicles fill up valuable space. It has often been asked that if Bassadone is to be given such preference even over the needs of the public, this should be confined to areas in Gibraltar which are of no other use for the public.
The argument for them now moving into the Devil's Tower Road carpark could be that it is virtually empty as the 'centre-piece' project the previous government talked about has not materialised.
Although the aim was to link it to the new airport road, the carpark is built in an out-of-town location which might have never attracted large numbers of foreign vehicles to make use of it in the untried and so-called 'park and ride' venture.
It was in September 2010 that the former Chief Minister Peter Caruana heralded the Devil's Tower Road carpark as a “major project that represents the ‘Centre Piece’ of the Government’s extensive range of parking projects and schemes to provide parking facilities and to tackle, head on, Gibraltar’s historic parking problems.”
The idea behind the development of such a parking 'monstrosity' was never really explained in any detail to the electorate. If the project itself, as Caruana said, was the ‘centre-piece' of the then government's policy on parking, then why plant the centre-piece of his main parking policy way outside the town area! Especially without first conducting a feasibility study to ascertain if ‘your expensive policy centre-piece’ is correctly or suitably situated in the area where it will create the biggest impact on the historical problem surrounding parking in Gibraltar.
This huge government investment never really got off the ground as it was not properly marketed by the previous administration; certainly this multi-story car park has been under-utilised by local and foreign motorists, and this even taking into account the chronic situation with parking everywhere.
We have been informed that Bassadone Project Vehicles Ltd (part of Bassadone motors group) has taken over the first three floors of this car park to be used to store their vehicles destined for export, and that they will relinquish other areas they occupy for a similar purpose.
It is believed Bassadone will be taking over some 450/500 spaces which is nearly half of the 1000 parking spaces available in the Devil's Tower Road carpark.
The Government's wholly owned company, Gibraltar Car Parks Limited, operate this multi-storey car park which has been running at a loss since it opened in 2010.
The 5th floor of the car park (which is uncovered and comprises 180 parking spaces) is used by residents of Devil’s Tower Road, Laguna Estate and Glacis Areas who were handed parking bays for free to compensate for the loss of street parking spaces on Devil's Tower Road when the new dual carriageway leading to the tunnel (that never was) was constructed.
In fact the matter of residents parking in this building has for some time been causing quite an emotional stir among themselves. Panorama has been approached by some residents of the area who were quite upset when they got to know the situation with the Bassadone group. These people complained that they had made unsuccessful representations to the previous government, that considering that the car park is nearly empty on a daily basis, that they be allowed to occupy one of the roof covered floors in the building and move them from their present and only uncovered 5th floor which is totally exposed to the elements.
These are residents of the area who were allocated by the previous administration the only floor in the car park without cover-protection; because of age and mobility issues some have difficulty in getting to their vehicles (on the 5th floor) as lifts are sometimes out of order and lights are frequently fused. When inclement weather batters the top floor it’s quite an effort, we were informed, for these people to get to their vehicles without first getting drenched or practically blown away on this exposed level.
The original idea included in the previous governments parking plan was for the ground, 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, comprising of around 650 spaces to be used for short term hourly (or less) rental.
There appears little chance that this huge carpark building will ever recover its naively termed ‘parking centre-piece status.’ This may be another ill thought-out project that has done nothing to ameliorate the big local traffic problem it was built for.
Now, it will serve only to fuel further controversy with Bassadone moving in to use such an expensive and newly built carpark as storage space...unless there being a major marketing exercise to encourage people to us it and help improve the great parking crisis.