Update: 1pm Wednesday
A demolition crew has reduced a Nelson Bay shop to rubble as a new era dawns on the CBD.
The work which began on Tuesday was the first concrete-busting step to reconnect the CBD to the waterfront.
Within months residents and tourists will be able to drive down Yacaaba Street through to the roundabout on Victoria Parade.
“The biggest change is now being able to see through to the water,” Port Stephens Council capital works section manager Phil Miles said.
“This has been on the cards for quite a number of years now.
“Within a fortnight we’ll be back to bare earth, the concrete slabs will all be taken out.”
Friday will mark the project’s next milestone when tenders close and the council will work out who will undertake the construction phase.
“The streetscape is going to be changing drastically,” Mr Miles said.
“It’s going to be a very positive change. Once the connection is complete there will not only be visual link but a physical link, for people and vehicles.”
The connection for cars to the waterfront will be one-way only, going toward the water.
Earlier plans for the link showed substantial open spaces.
Tenants were asked to move out last month ahead of the demolition, including the Tomaree Business Chamber, which has moved in with Destination Port Stephens.
A demolition crew has moved into Nelson Bay to bring down shop fronts that have long divided the CBD from the waterfront.
Fences went up around the Magnus Street building this week where it meets Yacaaba Street.
Once the building comes down Yacaaba Street will continue through to the roundabout on Victoria Parade.
With an excavator ready and waiting to bring her down, workers began to hose down 106 Magnus Street shortly after 11am Tuesday.
It wasn’t long before the bricks and mortar began to crumble.
Tenants were asked to move out last month ahead of the demolition.
One of the building’s tenants, Tomaree Business Chamber, only this week announced it had moved in with Destination Port Stephens.
Port Stephens Council secured the funding for the project in February with a vow from then mayor Bruce MacKenzie it would happen by Christmas.
It came after years of lobbying from the business chamber and only last year, Nelson Bay NOW.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald, for one, was pleased to see the first blow struck.
The site manager told Fairfax Media he expected the demolition to be complete on Tuesday, with the rubble scheduled for removal on Wednesday.
An onlooker remarked that the demolition was the “biggest thing to happen in years”.