The Forster-Tuncurry Crown Harbour Project is an ambitious project designed to be implemented over the next 30 years, to cater for the future needs of tourists and the local community.
The project is the work of City Plan Services, the consultants for the Land and Property Management Authority, to develop the twin town’s unique characteristics. The draft plans have been on display last month for the community and businesses to peruse, providing the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft plans.
The Crown Land foreshores, beaches and harbours are at the centre of the project, envisaged to provide a wide variety of facilities on and around the waterfront for recreational tourism, with many commercial sectors.
Projects of this magnitude have to include many aspects for the future, including anticipated population growth, increases in tourism, environmental issues such as climate change and the inclusion of appropriate infrastructure.
In modern times, the rebirth of a region has to be close to being an exact exercise with its projections – having suitability for the community and maintaining the foundation the Great Lakes region has established in being an attractive area for seachange and improving its already attractive back drop for tourists.
When the project’s final plans are instigated, it will begin a new era for the region, with expectations of increasing economic stimulus, better infrastructure, showcasing its beauty and adding assets for the community.
A new harbour, walkways, cycle ways, marina, new accommodation, improvement to current facilities and parking close to many new projects will allow Forster-Tuncurry to be highly competitive in the tourism and population growth areas.
One of the major suggestions is to design a user friendly vehicular bridge to provide access, which currently in peak times is an overcrowded and frustrating exercise.
It is suggested that the proposed bridge over the harbour to Tern Island can be funded by using the island as a sand deposition site.
With the changes, there are always some casualties: one being the proposed Crown Harbour Project, where the construction of a marina in Tuncurry will see the popular Tuncurry Beach Holiday Park relocated.
The reason to move the Park in favour of expanding the existing marina at Forster was made due to unsuitable water conditions, including shallowness and fast moving water at the current location.
The new harbour is ideal because of its deep water and proximity to Crown Land. It will offer facilities for 80 sailing vessels and includes 300 car spaces surrounding the marina and a new road bridge over the marina heading to a hotel and function centre next to the Tuncurry Rockpool.
Also, the relocation of the Fisherman’s Co-op will allow improved access for patrons and the opportunity to explore a proposed public plaza.
The beautification of Tuncurry’s foreshore areas has seen slow progress. Some work has been done, with the major works being the development of the dunes area with native plants and new walkways.
Also in the proposal is the further development of the sports fields, with a new club – a move that it is anticipated will attract more sports activities and enhance the region through the attraction of major carnivals.
Paul Walter, Consultant from City Plan Services, says since the proposal went on public display, there has been great positive feedback.
“The public display to date has received 40 submissions,” said Walter.
“These types of exercises usually contain many negatives.
“There are always areas that are a concern to the community, but so far support has been a huge majority.”
The Crown Land property is managed by the Land and Property Management Authority, who are buoyant with the response received so far.
Spokesman for the authority, Media Officer Chris Pryke says that overall, the project has been quite well received.
“There have been some objections, but these are minor.
“Given the scope of the project, it is not unexpected and helps refine the planning.”
Chris Pryke also added at this stage, the project is a concept plan that will give direction to any projects or activities within the planning area.
“Some of the activities that were already underway at the commencement of the project have also been included into the planning concepts.”
Like all plans, funding will be a necessity, with Paul Walter confident that grants from Federal and State Governments will considerably enhance the plans.
“It is a 30 year plan. If the concept is accepted, then as grants become available from the various departments at Federal and State level, certain areas can commence work.
“Remember, it is a long term plan – something that cannot be done overnight.
“Also, the generation of funding by selling sand is important.”
The Forster-Tuncurry Chamber of Commerce is also supportive of the proposals, saying it will have a positive benefit on the local economy.
Julie Carmichael, Executive Officer of the Chamber says the Chamber supports the need for this strategic planning effort and looks forward to a commitment by the LPMA and Council to implement works included in the plan as soon as possible.
“The Chamber acknowledges that the population of the twin towns will continue to increase over time and that there is a present and ongoing need for more and better quality facilities around the urban waterways of the CBDs and the Harbour.
“The 30 year plan needs a rolling program of works to give confidence to the business community in the plans that they need to make in light of this planning framework.”
The Chamber added there is a need and expectations that the construction of the facilities should encourage and meet the recreational and leisure needs, which in turn will contribute to the growth and prosperity of the area.
“It is important to see these programs of proposed works have the appropriate funding available to ensure the intentions of the plan are achieved.
“Overall, the Chamber supports the intent to increase the number and quality of boating facilities available to the public within the study area and the intention of increasing pathways, cycleways, BBQ / picnic areas and public amenities within the study area.”
The current reaction to the proposal has been well received and when the final proposal has been set in stone, let us all hope that the work will be completed as soon as possible.
Thirty years is a long time to finalise any plans – who knows what the needs of communities will be even in twenty years!
It is hoped the Land and Property Management Authority and Great Lakes Council will receive the relevant funding and fast track all the plans.
Story by Peter Lyne.