SECTION 94 development contributions are yet to be spent on car parking in Charlestown's CBD, where business owners say the situation has become a nightmare.
Under state government legislation councils can collect money or land for developments that are likely to need or increase the demand for public amenities and services, including open spaces, recreation facilities, car parking and community facilities.
Since 2001, Lake Macquarie City Council has gradually collected $3.25 million in contributions, specifically for car parking in Charlestown.
However, the funds have idled in council coffers, with no immediate plans to use them.
The council is required to spend the money within a "reasonable" timeframe under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.
However, a council spokesperson was unable to tell The Star its timeframe.
Bank of Queensland Charlestown branch manager, John Wheeler, who is also Business Charlestown vice president, is requesting the council to act on the suburb's lack of parking.
"We keep opening businesses in Charlestown but there's just no parking for them [customers]," he said. "It's a nightmare."
There are 200 unrestricted parking spaces in the council's Tallara Street car park and 620 on the Pacific Highway and adjoining main roads.