The people have spoken – revitalisation of Gosford needs to happen now

Lee Shearer interviewed by Jackie Pearson in the Central Coast Newspapers Office in Gosford CBDLee Shearer interviewed by Jackie Pearson in the Central Coast Newspapers Office in Gosford CBD

Overwhelming support to get on with the revitalisation of Gosford CBD was the key theme to emerge from the Central Coast community as it had its say on the latest comprehensive measures to renew the region’s capital.
The measures were exhibited from May 28 to June 29, and included the NSW Government Architect reports and recommendations to revitalise the City North (Place Report 2), City South (Place Report 3) and a Consultation Paper outlining the proposed new planning and infrastructure framework to deliver the revitalisation.
In a face-to-face survey conducted by the Department of Planning and Environment with members of the public during the exhibition period, 88 per cent of respondents said they would visit the city centre more often if the recommended upgrades were in place.
At two public information sessions held by Central Coast Council, 89 per cent of attendees, said they wanted a revitalised Gosford.
The following are some key themes from the submissions and completed online surveys:
“Just do it, get on with it and make the revitalisation a reality.
“Gosford City Centre could be a family-friendly destination but personal safety is an issue now.
“Make it a seven-days-a-week city with more entertainment and activities for youth and families.
“Support for recommended upgrade of parks, street scapes and building frontages.
“Make it more pedestrian friendly by creating better linkages between the north, civic heart and south of the city.
“Attract more businesses.
“Improve car parking, transport links and flow.”
According to Coordinator General, Lee Shearer, the community also expressed general support for the reduction in development contributions, but said Council and the community needed an ongoing role in the revitalisation.
Lee Shearer said: “A big thank you to everyone who took the time and effort to make a submission and engage with the Department during the exhibition period.
“All who took part have helped secure a bright future for the capital of the Central Coast.
“The feedback was wide-ranging and included some valuable comments and great ideas which will all be taken into close consideration as we move forward into implementation.
“While views differed about how we go about the revitalisation, the people were unanimous on one thing: revitalisation needs to happen and needs to happen now.
“The feedback and upcoming consultation on the detailed design controls will help resolve several complex issues, and provide the certainty the community and land owners told us they need.
“The consultation demonstrated that we must achieve a balance between protecting what makes Gosford a beautiful place, and facilitating the development outcomes we need, to achieve the overall vision.
“The Department will work closely with stakeholders in coming months to prepare a new Gosford City Centre Development Control Plan (DCP) to enable the planning controls to be implemented before the end of the year.
“Other ongoing work with Council includes better understanding transport and parking-related issues, so we can identify solutions which will best suit the needs of the current and future users of Gosford City Centre,” she said.
The Department conducted an extensive, multi-faceted series of engagements with the public and stakeholders throughout the exhibition period.
This included a series of information sessions with Central Coast Councillors, Council staff, environmental groups, business owners, the development industry and landowners.
The Department also set up pop-up stalls on four consecutive Thursdays in June to meet with shoppers in the Imperial Centre, and heard the views of students at ET Australia Secondary College, and clients and staff of Regional Youth Support Services.
Members of the public could also visit the Department’s Central Coast Regional Plan Info Centre on the corner of Mann and Donnison Sts to read the reports, ask questions and share ideas with staff.
The exhibition followed the earlier release of the NSW Government Architect’s Place Report 1 – Gosford Civic Heart, Kibble Park and Surrounds, and the Gosford Urban Design and Implementation Framework (UDIF) Background paper, that were on exhibition from April 9 to May 4.
Submissions made on the Government Architect documents will be taken into consideration in the formulation of the final Gosford City Centre UDIF due for release soon.
Submissions made on the Consultation Paper will be taken into consideration in the creation of both a Gosford City Centre SEPP, and draft Gosford City Centre DCP, which will contain detailed development controls to support the new planning framework.
The community will be able to have their say on the DCP that will be placed on exhibition following the release of the UDIF.
Central Coast Council held information sessions in June attended by a total of 32 people (including the Mayor, Jane Smith).
All attendees were asked to complete a survey which was designed to gauge the level of community interest as required in the Council resolution.
of the 20 survey responses were received 35 per cent were supportive or very supportive of the Government architect’s vision for the Civic Heart, but 35 per cent were not supportive and 30 per cent unsure.
Sixty five per cent supported the vision for City North, while 15 per cent were not supportive and 20 per cent unsure.
Thirty five per cent supported the Government architect’s vision for City South, while 30 per cent were not supportive and 35 per cent unsure.
Only 20 per cent of those attending the Councils’ consultations supported the proposed delivery mechanism for planning of Gosford City Centre, while 50 per cent were not supportive and 30 per cent unsure.
Twenty per cent supported the proposed delivery mechanism for infrastructure provision and funding within Gosford City Centre.
Sixty per cent were not supportive and 20 per cent unsure.
Thirty two per cent supported the proposed delivery mechanism for place making in Gosford City Centre, another 47 per cent were not supportive and 21 per cent unsure.

Media release, Jul 17
Matt Porter, NSW Department of Planning
Agenda item 2.1, Jul 23
Central Coast Council ordinary meeting

Video Interview with Lee Shearer