A Gosford Waterfront Renewal Framework adopted by Central Coast Council is the first step in possibly rezoning the area to realise the many opportunities for locals and tourists alike.
Administrator Dick Persson said Gosford waterfront has long been identified as having significant potential as a regional attractor and key public open space.
Once a detailed business case has been completed, Council will issue an Expression of Interest to private partners to explore potential development sites along the waterfront and, if required, lodge a planning proposal to amend the SEPP zoning categorization that will change permitted land use, building heights and floor space ratio.
Currently the SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy) does not allow multi dwellings, shop-top developments, flats, restaurants or shops and offices but mainly allows water recreation uses.
“This Framework will help achieve optimal development outcomes to deliver a range of economic, cultural, and social benefits for the region and community,” Persson said.
“Council will now engage with relevant stakeholders and prepare three options in consultation with specialist consultants and accompanied by detailed financial assessment to assure proof of concept.
“Where possible internal resources will be utilised, and there are restricted funds for any consultant costs that will be incurred.”
The framework aligns with the NSW Government’s Urban Development Framework, which will ensure collaboration between the various State Government agencies.
At the April 27 council meeting, Persson adopted the framework and agreed the area had been the subject of a number of reports over the years.
He was responding to Australian Conservation Foundation Central Coast branch spokesman, Mark Ellis, who addressed the Council and outlined the long history behind the public crown land and all the ideas that had never got off the ground.
Persson said there were a number of reasons why the ideas hadn’t progressed but he said he could imagine a time when it becomes a tourist destination with clubs and restaurants.
He said he had met with NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes last week because he believes there is a need to change the SEPP.
“Like any big development, it will be controversial,” he said.
The adopted policy would bring it all back into the frame but it would be a short term project.
“You can push things forward and if it is not the right time it won’t happen but the time is coming,” he said.
The collective cost of planning to the point of issuing the EOI to private partners is estimated at about $140,000.
The time frame is to develop various options including due diligence and financial analysis by October 31.
Key issues raised in previous consultations include traffic management issues for Dane Dr, flooding, contaminated land, dredging for a fast ferry, privatisation of public land, and over-development.
Previous studies have looked at waterfront retail entertainment offices and waterfront apartments.
One report said buildings would be scattered to minimise loss of views from the city.
Modifications were proposed for Dane Dr to allow possible parking on both sides of the road.
A couple of decades ago, Lend Lease had planned to work with different state government corporations such as the Hunter Central Coast Development Corporation for a residential development called the Landing, which would have featured the performing arts centre nearby.
But that site now features the ATO building.