Port Stephens Council developing plans for a tourist bus interchange with state government funds at Anna Bay

OUT: A vision of the past?
OUT: A vision of the past?

Car park congestion at Birubi Point could soon become a worry of the past with plans for a transport interchange gathering momentum.

Port Stephens Council has this month signed a $150,000 Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure partnership with the state government worth a combined $300,000 to start detailed designs.

IN: What the transport interchange might look like at Birubi Point.

IN: What the transport interchange might look like at Birubi Point.

The council has also applied for $2.8 million to build it under the Regional Growth Environment and Tourism Fund.

“By April next year we’ll be in an excellent place, with a shovel ready project ready for funding,” the council’s community services section manager Steve Bernasconi said.

The interchange would largely serve international and interstate visitors to the dunes who arrive by bus and wish to ride camels, try sand boarding or go on a recreational four-wheel-drive tour.

The proposed site for the interchange is on Gan Gan Road next to the 4WD beach access track.

The facility would include toilets, a souvenir shop and under cover parking.

It means coaches would no longer need to navigate James Paterson Street or have to park on the bottom gravel car park that is often covered in sand. 

“Council’s fully aware of the congestion in peak periods and is working with the state government to alleviate the issue,” Mr Bernasconi said.

“We’ve got 120,000 visitors to the Worimi Conservation Lands each year and arguably the the premier tourist destination in Port Stephens. I’ve got the challenge of making these users happy and safe.”

On January 20 the council counted eight, 65-seater buses parked in the bottom car park and along James Paterson Street.

“Instead of a gravel car park behind a sand dune on a congested headland, we could have a purpose built facility,” Mr Bernasconi said.

“All of the agencies are working together to create a shovel-ready project so we’re steaming ahead with plans on this.”