City of Newcastle will review the location of a proposed skate bowl at South Newcastle Beach following community consultation in December on the latest stage of the Bathers Way project.
While the overall project is strongly supported by the community, a number of respondents surveyed on the Newcastle Beach Bathers Way section expressed concerns about the design of the bowl – most notably its location on the beach.
Upgrades at Newcastle Beach will be part of the next stage of the City's Bathers Way project
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the City was aware of the community’s concerns and would look to address the December feedback in a design review on a small part of the broader plans for Newcastle Beach.
"The Bathers Way - Newcastle Beach is the largest and most complex stage of the Bathers Way project,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
“It’s therefore critical that we continue to engage with people to enable us to consider what needs to be addressed so that we can deliver a project that is in the best interests of the community.
“Changes in State Government legislation, which came into effect in July 2018 for development in coastal areas, also means the planning pathway to approval is uncertain. At the least, additional assessment criteria would be required meaning the project would be under continued uncertainty for possibly another twelve months.
“Given this uncertainty and the community concern, the sensible action from Council is to re-examine the location of the skate bowl, with a view to potentially delivering the project within the existing footprint. This would enable the skate bowl to proceed but without it being located on the beach itself,” she said.
While the overall project was welcomed by those who attended the Bathers Way – Newcastle Beach drop-in sessions, concerns were raised regarding some aspects of the skate bowl design, mirroring the results of an online survey.
A total of 191 of the 335 people surveyed opposed the project, citing the skate bowl’s protrusion onto Newcastle Beach as their main concern.
The City will now undertake a review of the placement of the skate bowl to address community feedback, and enable the project to progress.
“This will ensure that we continue to achieve our vision of delivering this exciting public pathway along one of the most magnificent stretches of coastline in the country,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Currently the project timeline expects that design documentation could continue until the end of this financial year. The construction is scheduled to commence in 2019/20 and take up to two years to complete.”
In recent years, Council has invested around $27million in coastal revitalisation projects including the Bathers Way, along with significant investment in infrastructure renewal to support the delivery of this regionally significant project.