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Michael Cassel is the hands-on sort of guy Gosford needs right now. Michael Cassel is the hands-on sort of guy Gosford needs right now.
21 November 2018 Posted by 

He's the man responsible for steering city redevelopment

TERRY COLLINS

MOST people are aware by now of the State Government’s plans for revitalising the Gosford city centre.

Now meet the man who is charged with making it happen.
 
When the government released the final Government Architect report and a suite of new planning controls for the CBD last month it also announced the formation of a combined Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation, which will oversee the implementation of the vision.
 
And at the helm is Michael Cassel.
 
He is just the hands-on sort of guy the Coast needs right now, with a string of redevelopment successes to his credit, including the recent revitalisation of Newcastle.
 
While he is quick to point out that “Gosford isn’t Newcastle”, his success in breathing life back into that city’s heart and establishing its light rail system is a good indicator of huis work dynamic.
 
”I am usually put in roles to make things happen,” he told CCBA in an exclusive sit-down interview.
 
With an early background as a carpenter, Mr Cassell said he had quickly developed “an appetite to deliver” and he has already started the ball rolling on the Gosford plan.
 
“The Government Architect gave us a vision and the recent SEPP gave us certainty,” he said.
 
“The show of confidence from the government has given us clarity and it is now up to me to encourage private sector investment to make the vision a reality.”
 
No easy task
 
Mr Cassel will have to build relationships with the state government, a Central Coast Council which has already expressed concern at some of the planning controls in the SEPP, and a private sector which needs to be convinced Gosford is serious about development this time around.
 
But moves are already well underway to create a regional park on part of Leagues Club field, which would instill even more confidence in potential business investors.
 
Architectural firm Turf Design has been given the brief to come up with a concept plan for the parkland, following a string of community consultations which have already been held.
 
The firm has a wealth of experience in designing significant urban parks and community hubs, including Central Park and Sydney Park in Sydney, Goyder Square in Palmerston, Northern Territory, and Shellharbour Civic Centre.
 
“The Government Architect gave us a suggestion of how things might look and now Turf Design will look at where various features should be placed and that will go back to the community for further feedback,” Mr Cassel said.
 
“It can be difficult getting consensus from the community but the parkland will be a key step in attracting people to the city.
 
“It will create momentum for the revitalisation of the region’s urban centre. I’m hopeful of having a final plan by around March next year and expect work to start in the next 8-12 months.”
 
 
Once the parkland is established, Mr Cassell and his “great team” will set about wooing developers to tackle other projects mooted in the grand plan.
 
Major Hotel
 
“One thing I am really hopeful of is establishing a major hotel in Gosford,” Mr Cassel said.
 
“This will attract visitors and with the establishment of more jobs, there will be greater numbers of people wanting to live in and around the city and that will flow on to the retail sector.”
 
Mr Cassel said the Gosford Hospital revitalisation, already well underway, the establishment of a family parkland on the waterfront and more jobs already available with the establishment of two government offices in the Mann St area, would see more businesses wanting to come to the CBD and more residential developments springing up.
 
“Gosford is uniquely placed with its waterfront and the wonderful Central Coast Stadium, which could be opened up for a lot more events,” he said.
 
With a wealth of opportunity for growth and with more people and jobs coming to the city, Mr Cassel said development would have a snowball effect, which would hopefully see Gosford become the thriving heart of the region it should be.
 
“I have had some interest from a major university for a presence in the city and that would bring even more people in,“ he said.

 



editor

Michael Walls
Publisher
P: 0407 783 413
E: Michael@accessnews.com.au

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Central Coast Business Access (CCBA) covers the business and community issues of the NSW Central Coast region. CCBA is a prime media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities.