The first stage in works to revitalise Apex Park and turn it into an “attractive, multi-purpose” space for the community got underway on Monday.
Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said it was “great” to see ground broken on the long awaited works, which were part of the Apex Park Masterplan adopted by the council in 2015.
“It has been spoken about a lot about over the years and we’ve had many plans for this park and others in the area, so it’s great that this council, with help from the state government, can begin fulfilling those plans,” Cr Palmer said.
“The changes will see the park utilised more than it is right now. We’re making it into a great place to spend time, to be entertainment and the better set up will lend itself to more services and events.”
Stage one of the works, due to be completed by Remembrance Day in November, will include landscaping a grassed, tiered amphitheatre to the rear of the park, the installation of irrigation and electrical infrastructure and some vegetation removal to improve usable spaces and sight lines.
The works, which are also part of the council’s Nelson Bay Next campaign to drive renewal in the Bay, have been funded by a $300,000 NSW Government grant.
Another project that was unveiled in the park on Monday was Walk Of Art.
Five artists from Port Stephens and Newcastle – Anna Webster, Denise Duffy, Ian Merriner, Kimberly Swan and Matthew Johnstone – were selected to have their works displayed on street flags, which are now on show in Apex Park and in Yacaaba Street.
Liz Akerman from the council’s community development and engagement team said the project was another way to connect the Nelson Bay town centre with the marina and foreshore.
“It’s fantastic that we can showcase local artists works in such a public way and have such strong support from the business chamber and businesses,” she said.
Medowie artist Denise Duffy said the vibrant colours of the flags which showcase the Port’s natural beauty was also aimed at sparking conversation.
“If people fall in love with them, the images, hopefully they will feel a stronger connection to our marine environment and help to protect it,” she said.
Newcastle-based photographer Ian Marriner, who has been diving in Port Stephens for the past 25 years, has a number of his underwater images, including of the endangered white seahorse seen off pipeline in the Bay, displayed on the flags.
“It’s nice to show people what we have here in this vicinity,” he said.
Cr Palmer said the council is looking to do a similar project in Raymond Terrace.