Two big steps are all that is said to stand between a family and its desire to establish a water-based tourism facility at Bobs Farm.
Nearly five years in the making Ride Water Park Port Stephens promises to be a world-class cable park and wave pool for wakeboarders and surfers alike.
Designed as a biological filter the park will rely on natural processes to keep it clean, rather than use chlorine, setting a standard for others to follow.
Trevor Griffiths, brother Shane and his wife Lisa, now have a planning proposal on public exhibition with Port Stephens Council to allow outdoor recreational use of the Bobs Farm property.
The second step involves a development application that will detail where the lake, wave pool and associated buildings will be place on the property.
“As a long time local family we are really excited to work with everyone to create something fresh that will support local families, community and business,” Shane said.
“After 4.5 years we’re also relieved to regain momentum.”
The planning proposal for 775-781 Marsh Road includes reports on the park’s ecological, archaeological and groundwater status and addresses traffic, noise and waste water management, to name a few. The purpose, to satisfy the state government that the RU2-zoned land is suitable for outdoor recreational use.
Shane said the land and properties around it had been appropriately zoned for the purpose until four years ago. The council is also said to be midway through restoring the ‘outdoor recreational use’ clause under the local environment plan.
“We didn’t want to wait any longer,” Shane said.
“This way our individual property will be able to be used for outdoor recreation that bit sooner.”
The planning proposal process involves a mandatory period in which people can have their say on the plans.
“Our aim from the start has been to be a clean development. We listened to people when they said ‘we don’t want a chlorinated pool, we don’t want to be in a concrete jungle’.
“We believe it will be Australia’s largest biologically filtered lake.”
Shane said this was the work of a family committed to the area not some cheap development company.
“Lisa and I have sold our dream property, the place we were going to build our house, to keep this project alive,” he said.
Provided the planning proposal is approved the family will then lodge the development application in the hope of having council’s seal of approval come December.
“A start on construction is possible by the middle of 2019 but there’s a few variables to contend with,” Shane said.
“If the DA goes through as expected there will be four or five months of final engineering work ahead of getting the construction certificate.”
To build it will require the help of an investor.
“We’ve poured everything we have into this [but] we’ve got people who really want to back it,” he said.
“They’re just waiting for the DA approval. We want to thank people for their patience.”
The project is said to have spiked the interest from recreational users from around Australia.
“We’re 12 minutes from Newcastle Airport which opens up massive opportunities,” he said.
“There’s a family in Melbourne who want to come here. They’ve said it’s going to be cheaper and easier for them to fly here for a weekend than to get their boat out. We’ve had so many people congratulate us on doing such a positive development that seeks the best environmental outcomes.”