Toronto Foreshore Protection Group spokesperson Bob Ireland has welcomed Lake Macquarie City Council’s “change of heart” after it unveiled a proposal for a small-scale lakeside precinct in the area.
The council’s new plan aims to facilitate social connections through opportunities like casual dining, boutique functions, pop-up events and recreational equipment hire on vacant land at 4 Bath Street and 1B Victory Row, Toronto.
The proposal follows years of community campaigning against a previous plan to build a six-storey mixed-use development on the site.
“This is very much in line with what we’ve been advocating for over the past two years,” Mr Ireland says.
“It’s been quite a change of heart on council’s part – they’ve been so determined to put a large-scale building on that block, so it’s encouraging to see them drop that plan.
“We’ve never been against this [new] type of proposal, and hiring equipment, like boats and bicycles, is a very acceptable change.
“Whatever council does in terms of development needs to complement the environmental importance of the lake.”
Lake Macquarie City Council’s Manager of Property and Business Development, David Antcliff, says the lakeside precinct will create a diverse and dynamic foreshore.
“We’ve listened to feedback from our community through consultation and taken into consideration a review of the best use of the site in line with our Sustainability Policy Review,” he says.
“Taking inspiration from its scenic lakeside location and adjacent five hectares of foreshore, the proposed precinct will feature indoor and outdoor dining opportunities, as well as pedestrian access improvements and new car parking.
“There is also an opportunity for a complementary small business, such as kayak, bike or boat hire.”
Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser encourages the community to reflect on the proposal and the benefits it can deliver for Toronto and western Lake Macquarie.
“I believe this is a really positive outcome and I’m looking forward to hearing what residents think about the proposal,” she says.
The community can provide feedback via the council’s website before Monday 24 August.