THE local business community joined Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer recently at a COVID safe event to get an update on Nelson Bay Next initiatives and the impact on the local economy.
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One of the key initiatives, the Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan, was revealed in February 2018 when community consultation commenced to achieve the community’s vision for Nelson Bay over the next 20 years.
Port Stephens Mayor Palmer said it’s an exciting time for Nelson Bay with work already underway to prioritise people, create a greener town centre and provide more spaces for the community to enjoy.
“Since the Public Domain Plan works commenced, we’ve already seen a number of projects and improvements in infrastructure to link the foreshore and town centre together including Apex Park, Yacaaba Street and soon to be new amenities blocks,” Mayor Palmer said.
“The Yacaaba Street project was pushed for by the community and now we are seeing the clear benefit this has had on local businesses providing a direct link to the Nelson Bay town centre.
“There is plenty more in the works with the next stage of the plan to improve planning controls, funding for special events and activations as well as the introduction of smart parking.
“The Smart Parking Scheme was endorsed by Council on 12 May this year after in-depth community consultation to source a solution to increased parking demands in the area and improve traffic flow.
“Upgrades to existing parking and additional spaces will also be introduced as well as a free parking scheme for all Port Stephens residents, ratepayers and employees of Nelson Bay CBD businesses.
“It’s not just about a charging for parking or removing meters — they’ll still be there and you can still pay by cash if you want. It’s about giving extra parking spaces, making it easier to find a park, creating more attractions and events bringing people to the Nelson Bay CBD and reinvesting the revenue.
“Funds collected from smart parking will be reinvested into Nelson Bay to fund improvements to the public domain, landscaping, increased car parking and place activation.
“I know some may feel unsure about these changes but as I’ve said before if we don’t take a risk there will be no reward. The reward for Nelson Bay are the upgrades and activation — this is a vehicle to move us forward from where we are today,” he said.
The smart parking infrastructure program is expected to be installed towards the end of 2020.