The need for a supermarket in the vicinity of Fern Bay has never been greater with the continued population growth, but the burning question of where to site it has dogged Port Stephens Council for some time.
But a solution for long-suffering residents could be imminent with the recent decision by Port councillors - along with their Newcastle neighbours - to place the draft Fern Bay/North Stockton Strategy which explores a number of shopping centre options on public exhibition.
One of the sites under discussion for the past decade is the 6.5-hectare property on the corner of Nelson Bay and Fullerton Cove roads (known as 42 Fullerton Cove Road). The land is currently zoned RU2 rural landscape and would require rezoning to B1 Neighbourhood Centre and E3 Environmental Management.
The property has been in the Jordan family for 50 years.
"The residents have been crying out for a commercial/retail centre and we have the suitable land to support one," said 86-year-old widower Chris Jordan, who shares the property with her son Paul.
"In 2010 Woolworths were interested in buying the property [on the condition of rezoning] and we had plans drawn up for a Centro-style precinct with a supermarket and specialty stores.
"However, they walked away following the problems they had with their Masters brand."
ALSO READ: Supermarket top of Fern Bay's list
A Woolworths spokesperson told the Examiner this week that they were always looking for new opportunities to bring Woolworths supermarkets to more locations.
According to the Jordans, the relevant environmental studies and reports had been obtained and submitted to the council.
But while 42 Fullerton Cove Road has its supporters from residents and the local Progress Association, the draft Strategy is not so favourable. In fact it is listed as the fourth most preferred in the strategy behind the Stockton centre, Newcastle Golf Club and Fern Bay's former rifle range.
A council spokesperson said that the draft did not recommend the site (42 Fullerton Cove Road) be used as a supermarket because it is subject to high hazard flood storage, it is listed as containing endangered ecological communities and is not within a walkable distance for most residents.
"It should be noted that the land would need to be rezoned and that a rezoning is subject to the Local Environment Plan amendment process which requires a gateway determination by the NSW Government."
The draft noted that Fern Bay's rapid urban development and population growth over the past 15 years had been the result of state approvals "without a specific plan for the area".
RELATED READING: Former rifle range in Fern Bay earmarked for Defence housing estate