After years of inaction, broken promises and a tendency by elected representatives to place the Anna Bay Resort development in the 'too hard basket', the community says it has had enough.
Residents are calling for immediate action on the town's 'eyesore', located at the entrance to Birubi Beach and Stockton sand dunes, by starting a petition and calling on Port Stephens Council to get tough on the developer.
But resort spokesman Frank Shi has called for patience as the owners pursue new investors to help finance the millions of dollars needed to complete the development.
"I have tried to work hard on the project. We don't want people to be angry, we want support from the community and the council. The economy is not doing well at the moment [and] this makes it hard to find financiers," he said.
A council spokesperson said that discussions with the resort's owner have been ongoing.
"We have outlined an approach for the owners including providing landscaping and fencing along part of Gan Gan Road to screen the development site," the spokesperson said.
It is understood that the landscaping would include the planting of trees along the frontage could be a cheaper option [at a cost to the developer] than the printed hoarding decals announced last month.
Passionate Anna Bay resident Kelly Hammond, speaking on behalf of many in the community, said that the site has become a blight on the town. She helped organise a gathering on Sunday, which attracted more than 100 residents including deputy mayor Sarah Smith, eager to see the site cleaned up or screened.
As for the site's long-term future, she says: "either they resume construction or tear it down".
"Visitors driving through see the vandalism and think that's what represents Anna Bay, they see the town as a dump and treat it as such," Ms Hammond said.
"I have attended a number of community meetings in recent months and any time the resort is mentioned the discussion is shut down. No one wants to do anything or take responsibility. It seems that it has become too big a problem and is left in the too-hard basket."
Cr Smith said the issue had been a high priority for the Anna Bay community.
"I've been working closely with local groups to understand their concerns and try to get a positive outcome," she said.
Mayor Ryan Palmer said that he had heard the community's call for action and that council had been liaising with the owner to get a quick resolution.
"While Council is limited in its ability to demand action on the site, I'm advocating for an outcome that will make the site more attractive for residents."
Another Anna Bay resident, Roz Scholes, said that a footpath in front of the resort along Gan Gan Road connecting the shopping strip and Nelson Bay Road was long overdue.
"Currently there is no footpath and it has become a safety issue, with pedestrians forced to either walk through overgrown shrubs and weeds or on the roadway," she said.
Ms Hammond said she hoped some common sense would prevail and an appropriate solution would be negotiated sooner rather than later.
She said that she has traveled extensively throughout Australia, and had chosen to live in Anna Bay because of its natural beauty, beaches and national park surrounds.
"Yet the community has to put up with this terrible eyesore right on its doorstep," she said.
"It was reported in the Examiner last year that another abandoned site in Gan Gan Road has sat idle for some 38 years. This [Anna Bay Resort] has sat idle for eight years, who's to say it won't stay like this for another 30 years?"
Ms Hammond it was for this reason and after discussions with other longtime Anna Bay residents that a decision was made to start up a petition via change.org.
The petition in part states: 'We the residents & visitors of Anna Bay have watched this unsightly development sit idle for eight years ... which has become a terrible blight on the landscape'.
- December 2015: Birubi Beach Resort a blight on Port Stephens
- December 2017: Anna Bay Resort aims to rebuild broken Birubi vision
- June 2018: Council gives developer Frank Shi the green light on Anna Bay Resort
- August 2018: Residents call for a clean up of unsightly development sites
- September 2018: DPI investigating resort owner after unapproved barbed wire fence installed