Tuesday 13 December, on behalf of the Tomaree Business Chamber and Nelson Bay “NOW”, Ryan Palmer was provided the opportunity for Public Access to make a presentation to Port Stephens Council in support of the Discussion Paper on future planning for Nelson Bay.
Mr Palmer’s presentation included the following key points.
Nelson Bay CBD had not received any physical upgrade since the major works in the early 2000s and was now in need of an overhaul to revitalise the CBD and bring back the customer base, particularly from the local community.
The town centre had subsequently become very tired resulting in lack of developer interest and a large vacancy rate (32 vacancies were mentioned).
He also commented on the need of a review of building heights and other elements which have been influencing the lack of development and the general appeal of Nelson Bay as the CBD for the Tomaree peninsula.
Mr Palmer said that it had reached the stage that over the past 10 years there had been no development in the CBD (apart for the Woolworths Development).
He made mention that Salamander Bay Shopping Centre had subsequently become the retail hub.
Other issues including Council not meeting parking needs, the need for the two key parking stations upgrade and diversion of Newcastle investments into Nelson Bay were raised by Mr Palmer.
Mr Palmer also presented a case in regards to the disconnect between the foreshore and the CBD and the need for residential development in the CBD.
He said that Nelson Bay had been identified as a Strategic Centre in the Hunter Regional Plan and that Nelson Bay “NOW” should be included in the Community Consultation process early next year.
This was followed by very strong support from other Councillors who agreed that Nelson Bay needed to be the strong and vibrant CBD for the Tomaree Peninsula.
“It was great to see the Councillors show such a great interest in the future of Nelson Bay,” Mr Palmer told Bay News Of The Area.
“We have not seen Nelson Bay progress in 10 years, in which the back half of this period has been a boom time in the property market, we need to capitalise on this market while we still have time,” Mr Palmer said.
For balanced reporting, News Of The Area has made contact with Mayor Bruce MacKenzie who was at the meeting, for comment and information from Council’s perspective.
By Jewell DRURY