TRRA Update, July 2023
Town Team workshop at Medowie
Council is proposing to establish Town Teams in various centres to follow up on Place Plans and related initiatives like the ‘7-day makeovers’ at Anna Bay and Medowie. The Town Team model has been rolled out around Australia and provides a mechanism for continuing involvement by local communities in direct action to improve the ‘look and feel’ of their areas. Council is piloting the program in Medowie but it could then be adopted elsewhere. See https://www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/development/place-plans/medowie-place-plan
Coastal Management Program workshops – 7 & 8 June
Council and its consultants presented their further analysis of the risks from erosion, inundation and sand migration, and of potential management options, and sought feedback, including on issues such as beach erosion in specific localities. Feedback will inform the finalisation of a draft Coastal Management Program to go on public exhibition later in the year. Once adopted, the Program will allow access to substantial grant funding.
See https://www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/environment/coastal-management-program. We have complimented Council on the consultation process on the CMP (despite a frustrating 2-year gap in progress reports) but are concerned that the process may be raising unrealistic expectations about Council’s capacity to implement the likely wish list of desirable projects, even with grant funding.
Council Advisory Groups
TRRA members have nominated for three new Council Advisory Groups – Environmental, Communications and Engagement, and Heritage.
At the 23 May meeting Council approved the DA for a 5-storey apartment building at 18-20 Soldiers Point Road. There was a sensible discussion about the justification for the +16% height variation, and we have complimented Council on what appears to be a better understanding of the height variation issue.
At the same meeting, Council approved the sale of a parcel of Council-owned land at the Salamander Centre. While details are confidential, we understand this to be the block on Salamander Way south of the Childcare Centre. We have made enquiries about Council’s intentions for the remainder of the land they own to the north of the Library and Kmart, as we remain concerned about the piecemeal development of this major strategic centre and the long history of missed planning opportunities, in pursuit of short-term revenue. We are advised that a concept plan is being drawn up for the remaining landholdings and look forward to the opportunity for the community to comment.
We heard recently that the owners of the Soldiers Point Marina have appealed against Council’s February 2022 refusal of their DA to build a ‘members’ facility over the former slipway. A conciliation conference will be held on 17 July, at which objectors will have a chance to speak. TRRA objected in 2021 and will be applying to speak.
TRRA has also provided written input to Council on Shoal Bay smart parking – we have emphasised the need for this to be integrated with the finalisation of the Shoal Bay ‘Place Plan’ over the next few months.
Several TRRA members attended meetings with representatives of 2 commercial proponents of offshore wind farms. They, like us, are awaiting the outcome of the Federal government consultation on the proposed license area off the Hunter coast.
Next TRRA General Meeting – Monday 7 August 2023, Nelson Bay Bowling Club