Debate underway over possible single Waterfront foreshore authority

The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has called on both major parties to commit to a single foreshore authority to oversee the redevelopment of the Gosford foreshore in the lead up to the Gosford by-election.
“With the Gosford by-election looming, its high time that both parties show a level of commitment to the future of Gosford by supporting the setting up of an independent Brisbane Water Foreshore Authority to take charge of the Gosford Waterfront,” said Peninsula Chamber President, Mr Matthew Wales.
“It’s in the interests of all of us that Governments get on with the job of revitalising the foreshore area and create an environment that attracts investment,” Mr Wales said.
“The new Authority should be set up in a similar way as the highly successful Honeysuckle Development Corporation in Newcastle which transformed the old dock yards into a magnificent public space and a commercial/residential hub,” he said.
“Gosford deserves the same attention as Newcastle, and should be funded to the same tune as Honeysuckle was.
“The NSW Government and Commonwealth at the time allocated $100 million to the Newcastle waterfront which completely transformed the area.
“Its task should be to open up the Gosford Harbour to the community by creating quality recreational, commercial and residential waterfront areas so as to unlock lifestyle opportunities to locals and investors.
“The problem at the moment is that investors and lending institutions still have reservations in making substantial financial commitments to the Gosford CBD so we should create an environment that changes that perception.
“The big money wants to be on the waterfront not at the back of town.
“Let’s set up an independent authority to facilitate that outcome.
“Both the Labor and Liberal candidates for the Gosford by-election have a chance to show vision and leadership in the Gosford waterfront debate.
“Let’s hope that leadership comes front and centre.”
The Central Coast Council said, at this stage, it would not comment as it would need to see more detail on any proposed NSW Government authority to manage the Waterfront and consider Council’s role.
Ms Claire Braund, President of the Gosford Waterfront Alliance said: “The role of an ‘independent’ development authority is essentially at the macro planning stage, listening to, evaluating and disseminating ideas from property owners, business people, residents, community groups, and potential investors within the framework of the local LEP and DCP.
“We could argue that much of this work has been done through the 2010 Masterplan,” Ms Braund said.
“While Newcastle is making great progress, it is worth noting that it has taken 25 years to get the foreshore development, and the resulting impact on the CBD of Newcastle can be seen in the number of empty shopfronts and lack of any new investment in the area,” she said.
“A foreshore authority focused purely on the waterfront areas of the Central Coast could see prime locations sold to the highest bidder for more apartments we don’t need and office buildings that would be better located within the CBD.
“This has already started with the ATO and State Finance Office being built on the site of the former Gosford Public School.
“We all speak constantly about the need to revitalise the Gosford CBD and this requires work in the CBD itself, not on the periphery.
“In terms of the Central Coast Regional Development Corporation (CCRDC), its track record is dubious and the organisation lacks transparency and clarity around what it actually does.
“Creating a similar body would not in any way improve civic leadership or create a strong and unified vision for our cities and prime waterfront locations.

Media release,
Mar 19, 2017
Matthew Wales, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
Media statement,
Mar 21, 2017
Central Coast Council media
Media statement,
Mar 22, 2017
Claire Braund, Gosford Waterfront Alliance
Jackie Pearson, journalist