Waterfront development mired in controversy

An artist’s impression of the proposed development on the Gosford Waterfront

An artist’s impression of the proposed development on the Gosford Waterfront

Gosford Council has presented an Erina-based company with an opportunity to revitalise part of the Gosford Waterfront right beside the Brian McGowan Bridge.

Following a call for expressions of interest earlier this year, Mistlake Investment Pty Ltd has been granted a five-year lease for The Broadwater’s Gosford Recreation Reserve and will now seek approval for their development concept. Council’s new director of community growth Ms Judy Jaeger said that, if approved, the concept could see 10 pop-up eateries, three showcase studios, a dessert bar and associated amenities dropped-in along The Broadwater’s shoreline.

“The area offers magnificent development potential and is an important part of our efforts to transform the waterfront precinct into a dynamic and vibrant part of the city,” Ms Jaeger said. “We’re confident that this proposal has the potential to unlock this under-utilised land and provide an active and engaging public area with a range of leisure and dining activities.

“It shows a good understanding of this prime waterfront location’s sensitivities and supports the key objectives behind the area’s development, which is to deliver economic and social benefits to Gosford. “But, I would like to highlight that the lease still needs to be approved by the NSW Government and the proposal will be subject to a separate development application process.

” At this stage, the development concept comprises 27 drop-in modules, with each module about the size of a shipping container. “Ultimately, what we want to see delivered is a revitalised area that benefits our community and is commercially successful,” Ms Jaeger added. “So far the concept ticks all the right boxes, especially when you consider the positive flow on effects it would have for local jobs, tourism and other investment.

“Looking just at its employment potential, we expect that this proposal could generate around 115 new jobs, with almost half of these during construction. “However, it’s important that we allow the concept to be looked at thoroughly via the separate development application process to make sure it’s the right fit,” Ms Jaeger said. Community activist Ms Kay Williams, however, said revitalising the CBD has to be the subject of “better and more permanent buildings than this, reminiscent of a mobile home village”.

“This is not a private block of land: this is a proposal to alienate community public space,” said Ms Williams. “The building looks tacky and vile, in bad taste sitting prominently in an area argued to be part of a `world’s best practice ` development. “It appears designed primarily to cheaply further the eating amenity of the nearby stadium and profit from its trade, to the detriment of revenue for food within the stadium, and with food that is likely to be of low standard.

Mistlake Investment’s Tim Gunasinghe, however, said the food would be “fresh, modern and casual”. “The concept is designed by local people for local people and also visitors to our city,” said Mr Gunasinghe. “It’s a meeting place, community art space and an activity space offering various activity options like dining, walking, cycling, canoeing, paddle boarding or just fishing.”

Media release, 30 Jun 2014
Gosford Council Email,
1 Jul 2014 Kay Williams,
Pearl Beach