Residents of Anna Bay call for a clean up of unsightly development sites

CLEAN UP: Anna Bay resident Gary Troon outside a development site in Gan Gan Road.
CLEAN UP: Anna Bay resident Gary Troon outside a development site in Gan Gan Road.

The push to clean up Anna Bay from long-neglected and unsightly development sites has begun in earnest and the calls for change are getting louder by the day.

Long referred to as the ‘poor cousin’ of the Tomaree peninsula, Anna Bay’s general appearance has according to some residents been neglected for far too long, with some streets still without kerb and guttering.

Port Stephens Council has now been requested to look into compliance issues for at least two development sites in Anna Bay, with mayor Ryan Palmer urging the council to look more widely at abandoned developments across the Port.

“There is a need for the council to look at compliance measures and how they can be enforced,” he said.

Gary Troon, who has lived in Anna Bay for 36 years, took advantage of an invite to voice his concerns over the state of two development sites on Gan Gan Road during a Q&A session as part of the last council meeting held at the Birubi Point Surf Lifesaving club rooms.

Mr Troon said that it was a ridiculous state of affairs when the gateway to one of the Port’s major tourist attractions – the Stockton sand dunes – had deteriorated over the years.

“The issues with this resort site have been well documented with half built buildings, vandalism, graffiti and an inundation of sand,” he said.

“Then there’s the abandoned site at 149 Gan Gan Road, which has stood in its current state for more than 30 years, boarded up with a corrugated iron fence.

A resort in Anna Bay has been left in a state of half-built ruin after work stopped on the development in 2012. It was placed in administration in 2014 and bought by a new developer, Frank Shi, in 2017. Mr Shi hopes the Anna Bay Resort will be open by Christmas 2019.

A resort in Anna Bay has been left in a state of half-built ruin after work stopped on the development in 2012. It was placed in administration in 2014 and bought by a new developer, Frank Shi, in 2017. Mr Shi hopes the Anna Bay Resort will be open by Christmas 2019.

“The property has been left neglected for years, the verge is overgrown with shrubs and weeds and is a terrible blight on the landscape.

“My question to council is just how long does a Development Application hold and who is responsible for the site’s maintenance and upkeep?”

The council’s group manager development services Tim Crosdale said that the council was looking into the specifics of both sites and what compliance measures it could apply to property owners.

“Obviously the main issue is to ensure that all development sites are safe and their appearance is maintained to a certain level. Council will investigate these and other sites,” Mr Crosdale said.

Cr Sarah Smith, the first Anna Bay-based resident in more than a decade to be elected to council, said that she would support council initiatives to clean up unsightly properties.

“If council is to invest in the Anna Bay CBD we would encourage support from property developers.”​

Anna Bay residents have also expressed their disappointment in the lack of movement at the former Anna Bay Oval site, which has stood idle and neglected for approximately 15 years.

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