THE communities of Fern Bay and North Stockton have had their say on a new land use strategy for the area, with a supermarket and retail space seen as key priorities for respondents over the next 10 years.
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Port Stephens Council is working together with Newcastle City Council to develop the draft strategy, which is due to go before Council in mid-2018.
Jeffrey Bretag, Council’s Strategic Planning Coordinator, says the initial consultation period has been vital for informing the draft strategy.
“We received hundreds of responses, which gave us a great indication of the vision the residents of Fern Bay and North Stockton have for their community as it continues to grow,” Mr Bretag said.
“It’s pretty clear that commercial development is seen as by far the most important priority for Fern Bay and North Stockton, followed by recreation facilities and pathways for pedestrians and bikes.
“Residents also said the key priorities for open spaces are accessible amenities and sheltered picnic facilities, while the thing they loved most about living in Fern Bay and North Stockton was the proximity to the water and to Newcastle.
“It was also great to hear some of the community’s ideas for the area, which include improved beach access, an open air concert and movie space, 72 hour camping ground and even light rail from the airport to the Stockton ferry terminal,” he added.
Mr Bretag says work is currently underway on the draft Fern Bay and North Stockton land use strategy, with the aim of having the final report to Council by mid-2018.
“I want to thank everyone who got involved in the initial consultation period, as their ideas and aspirations for their region are crucial to getting this strategy right,” Mr Bretag said.
“Our staff are currently hard at work collating feedback from the initial consultation period and we hope the community’s ideas shine through in the proposed strategy for Fern Bay and North Stockton.
“We’ll be going back to the community during the public exhibition period next year to make sure we’ve hit the mark,” he said.