Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association Update

UP front, a big congratulations to our hard working and committed state member, Kate Washington MP for a big win across Port Stephens.

Kate is a well known supporter of the Hawks Nest – Tea Gardens community, and has been very supportive of the Progress Association over the years.

We welcome her continued support of several improvements in our area, in particular the Myall Way (our roads, roads, roads!) and grants (funds to get things done!).

The Committee notes that MidCoast Council is also lobbying relevant MPs for the Myall Way to be included in the NSW Regional Transport – Pacific Highway Future Growth Program, which we strongly support for a safer interchange.

Around our twin villages their are updates on several projects which we continue to support and monitor:

• Tea Gardens Pontoon and Jetty (Apex Park): This much delayed replacement is being progressed by Magryn Engineering who have completed the structural drawings.

Council are finalising the Review of Environment Factors (REF report) and will be lodging the Crown Licence application with works planned to commence after April this year.

• Hawks Nest Community Hall Extensions: The tender has been reportedly finalised by Council and we are seeking clarification around schedule with delays evident.

• Hawks Nest Beach: Following lobbying by the HNTGPA, additional external showers will be installed over winter.

Works will include erosion prevention improvements, including sandstone block landscaping. Our volunteers will also be renewing the murals and improving the gardens.

• Council is progressing local water and wastewater improvements, of note the $45M Hawks Nest sewer upgrade program which includes a new pump station and rising main connecting Tea Gardens to Hawks Nest (for the new residential developments).

Public consultation commenced last week and will be ongoing.

• Mobile coverage, particularly in Hawks Nest, remains poor.

Council are advocating to be included in an Australian Government funded program to improve service across the LGA.

The Committee will continue to highlight this issue and lobby The Hon. Dr David Gillespie and government to deliver.

The Committee notes that the Hunter Regional Plan has now been in place since December 2022.

Council is currently aligning relevant planning guidance.

However, there are increasing community concerns about “zombie DA” approvals in coastal communities such as ours.

There have been several recent controversial approvals, including 90 Viney Creek Road (a new 226 lot subdivision), and 91-95 Marine Drive.

Progress matters, however, there may be merit in supporting a five-year development consent limit to ensure developments comply with modern planning standards and local community expectations.

We welcome your views.

The Committee is pleased to advise we are finalising the $117,000 Funding Deed with the NSW Government to install the new outdoor gym equipment at Providence Bay Park by next summer. There has been increased graffiti reported across our twin villages and we continue to support the rapid removal and restoration of vandalised public places – thank you to our volunteers and Council.

This is also the case for illegal dumping which continues across our beaches and parks.

Please help where possible.

We start fundraising again with two BBQs scheduled for Bunnings this year (starting 10 June) to cover our insurance costs which continue to increase and look forward to your continued support.

Finally, our next Public General Meeting will be in the Dolphin Room at the Tea Gardens Pub from 6.30pm on Monday 17 April.

This will be the location for all our meetings until the upgrades to the Hawks Nest Community Hall are completed.

This meeting we plan to open with a 20 minute screen presentation from the national Black Dog Institute on regional mental health issues and available wrap around support services.

By Bruce Murray, President, Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association

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