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06 February 2021 Posted by 

COMMENT: NO SURPRISE WE'VE BEEN LEFT BEHIND

Time to capitalise on our unique benefits
BRUCE MCLACHLAN
THIS January we saw numbers on our beaches return to the glory days Central Coast tourism, when in the 1960s and 70s, the Coast population swelled over Xmas, and normally empty camping grounds like the Skillion or Toowoon Bay would become tent cities overnight.
With the advent of the freeway reducing travel times to northern destinations, and then low-cost airfares, the annual trip to The Entrance or Terrigal became the Gold Coast or Bali.
 
Whilst this has been an unexpected result of lock downs, and could not be planned, the question must be what Coast will businesses and government agencies do to capitalise on this renewed tourism opportunity.
 
We all know our Council has no funding but can a changed attitude at the top help unlock some new tourism projects that would provide local employment and some new tourism amenity. 
 
We have seen what a Clr attitude of “anti-everything” brings to the community. A failed Council that is broke and must now seek rate rises.
 
We have not seen any major internationally renowned development on the Coast since Eric Worrell built the Reptile Park, yet we have major tourism markets of five million people with a few hours travel to the Coast.
 
We were once a waterfront playground, however with no new boating amenity, waterways that are silted and struggling, and miles of reserves without even a coffee stop or new restaurant, is it any wonder people no longer see the Central Coast as their water land playground.
 
Yet Central Coast Council owns the Gosford Waterfront freehold, could easily lease or JV partner with a Marina developer and transform Gosford into a waterfront entertainment precinct, resulting in ratepayer revenue, not rate rises.
 
Tuggerah Lakes has the opportunity for a world class cycle way but at present there are no new leisure attractions on the reserves. 
 
We have industrial land that could be a major Motor Sports Raceway Precinct. The Darkinjung hold major sites, yet we see little collaboration. Lots of opportunities if the right attitudes are applied.
 
It doesn’t cost anything to allow a Crown Land lease for operators to build new waterfront amenity. No one complains about the Box Restaurant at Ettalong, built on Crown Land, yet when the concepts of activation of our Waterfront Reserves was brought up in Council, the debate was voted down.
 
Why not let operators pay council rent and create new amenities for both locals and tourists alike.
 
Hopefully, a new set of Clrs with some forward vision and business sense will see the opportunities begging, and move forward creating employment and new amenity, instead of holding the Coast back to the point of financial collapse.
 
We need a mix of employment producing developments, not just social agendas that bolster the welfare vote, and help maintain voting demographics, but does little to address our local unemployment issues.
 
You can’t say no to everything for decades, build no new amenity, and then wonder why other Regions have left us behind.
 
Bruce McLachlan is a local realtor and was elected as an independent Clr to Central Coast Council. In 2018 he was voted the Central Coasts most influential person in a community poll.
 


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.