Port Stephens Council quarantines $1.6 million in developer contributions to build tourist coach interchange off Gan Gan Road

NO MORE: Port Stephens Council aims to build a transport interchange to avoid scenes like these in the future, while helping to preserve Aboriginal sites.
NO MORE: Port Stephens Council aims to build a transport interchange to avoid scenes like these in the future, while helping to preserve Aboriginal sites.

The cost to develop a Birubi Point tourism interchange has been put at $6 million dollars as Port Stephens Council moves to sure-up state government support.

The master plan includes an area of land at the intersection of Gan Gan Road Anna Bay and the four-wheel-drive access track to Worimi Conservation Lands, for a proposed tourism transport interchange.

“Whilst council has made application for a $5.5 million grant as a majority funding source, in all likelihood it is plausible to only expect funding on a ratio closer to dollar for dollar,” council’s community services section manager Steve Bernasconi said.

Councillors considered a report at Tuesday night’s meeting to “quarantine” $1.6 million in developer contributions (section 7.11 under the local government act).

This would assist with future applications to the Growing Local Economies Fund, should its current application for $5.5 million not come to fruition.

Cr Paul Le Mottee moved in favour of the motion.

“I totally support the funding structure and I hope we can get it out of the ground quickly,” he said.

The mayor Ryan Palmer said it was a project the state government could readily get behind.

“Hopefully our friends in Macquarie Street [Sydney] will come up with the funds so we don’t have to dip into developer contributions,” he said.

The deputy mayor Chris Doohan expressed some reservations.

He said the community was eager to see work completed on Robinson Reserve while the proposed all-abilities playground near the scout hall was also in need of funding.

“While I support the interchange I don’t want to see it come at the expense of other projects in Anna Bay,” he said.

Cr John Nell also supported the project.

“To me it sounds like a fantastic project. I know [past councillor Sally] Dover spoke about the need for this for a long time and it appears we are now getting action,” he 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. 

The council resolution to quarantine the developer contributions was carried.

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