Sandy beach and public parkland to be swallowed by concrete jungle

The Greens candidate for Port Stephens, Ms Charmian Eckersley, has condemned plans to alienate more public land along the Nelson Bay foreshore and hand it to developers.

Ms Eckersley is concerned that the picturesque and informal sandy beach could be swallowed up and the stretch of foreshore parkland along Victoria Parade – including crown land to the south – could be covered by the concrete of commercial development.

“The Nelson Bay Foreshore vision document makes it clear that alienation of public lands for commercial development is non-negotiable. It already appears on the Lands Department website under “Commercial Opportunities’,” Ms Eckersley said.

“This is Clayton’s consultation – the consultation you have when you’re not having consultation. State and local government will sell of public land no matter what anyone thinks. That much is very clear,” Ms Eckersley said.

“This is another example of the state government hamstringing local government whilst handing prime real estate to its developer mates on a platter. The local council is limited in raising revenue by the state government’s intransient stance on rate pegging and is forced to sell off public land so it can afford to maintain that which remains,” Ms Eckersley said.

“The Marina is fine as it is. There is no compelling case for further ‘urbanisation’ of the foreshore/beach area west of the eastern groyne, which is a significant and valued link between the old and new environments. It doesn’t need to swallow up public beaches and turn them into concrete boardwalk, shops and private moorings. More formal hard landscaping is both expensive and unnecessary,” Ms Eckersley said.

It is thought that the loss of the beach may relate to concerns about water quality in the Marina due to pollutants from vessels and inadequate flushing of the water.

“Any legitimate safety concerns about swimming in the marina should be addressed immediately through appropriate management so as to comply with relevant legislation and regulations.

Port Stephens Greens have an alternative vision for the area – a ‘low-tech’ approach maintaining the current informal landscape and beachscape character of the foreshore in a sustainable way.

Further comment: Charmian Eckersley, mobile 0407 730 410

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