WATCH: A car park set to cater for CQ's future
UPDATE 5PM: IT'S a challenge almost everyone who's visited the Rockhampton Hospital has faced.
Finding a park has proved a difficult pursuit for years, with many forced to leave their cars in surrounding streets or in a vacant lot opposite the hospital.
But today Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne was able to reveal the location of a new multi-level car park set to cater for the region's growth over the next decade.
He unveiled the concept design for the facility, which will sit on the site of the current car park and is set to deliver 520 car parks.
It may also include administration offices, a gift shop and medical suites.
"This is as good as it gets for me in politics in Central Queensland," Mr Byrne said of the announcement.
"It's a day of considerable celebration for me because it's been a journey that I've been on and one I've pestered people inside and out about."
With a commitment from the Palaszczuk Government to put the project to tender by year's end, Mr Byrne said construction would likely start in early 2017.
The State Government has not yet announced a budget for the multi-level complex, but has welcomed a $7 million investment from the Federal Government pledged during the election campaign.
Mr Byrne said the State Government had committed to delivering the car park regardless of what was on offer from other parties.
"I said at the time when the pledge was made by the now Federal Government that I'll take money from anybody for anything that gets this thing done," he said.
"That's what it's always been about for me: get this car park facility in and develop the proper level of convenience for people attending the hospital.
"There will be an expression of interest process going forward and I don't want to prejudice competitive tendering by giving an indication of exactly how much money we expect to spend."
The Morning Bulletin has previously reported the facility was likely to cost around $20 million.
Mr Byrne said he wanted to see how competitive the tender process was before discussing the potential cost, but that the car park was a "substantial investment" in the region.
CQ Health Board chair Paul Bell said the car park was designed to take the region's future growth into account with expectations the facility would serve the region well for 10 to 15 years before an expansion was needed.
He said the hospital would carry out community consultations to find a parking alternative for the six months it's expected to take to build the ground floor.
"It will provide some inconvenience for at least the first six months until we get the bottom floor back and we'll be asking the local community, staff and of course patients to have a little bit of tolerance," Mr Bell said.
Mr Bell also confirmed there would be a "minimal" fee to park at the facility.
Last year, an 800-strong survey revealed 70% of respondents would be willing to pay at least $5 a day to secure a park.
Mr Bell said he didn't want the future provision of health services to be compromised by the car park and hoped a small parking fee would make the facility "self-sufficient" in the long-term.
INITIAL: ROCKHAMPTON MP Bill Byrne has confirmed a new multi-level car park will be built on the site of the existing parking area at Rockhampton Hospital.
While there will be some pain before the gain, the announcement puts an end to years of parking woes at the hospital.
During the Federal Election campaign, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the Federal Government would invest $7 million in the project.
Mr Byrne said while the state welcomed the federal funds, the Palaszczuk Government had always planned to deliver the facility.
The project is on track to go to tender at the end of the year.
He could not confirm a budget for the project, with the cost forming part of that tender process.
However, The Morning Bulletin has previously reported a cost of around $20 million.
In June, Mr Byrne said the cost would also depend on on site clearing, number of car parks and additional items like a commercial area.