Wollongong Harbour could come to resemble the trendy Salamanca Place in Hobart, said Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery.
The waterside location is home to the popular Salamanca Markets and Cr Bradbery said he could envisage something similar for Wollongong Harbour for the area where the fishing charter vessels are moored.
“Off the top of my head, I think out there in the centre, which at the present time is just vacant – you need facilities for the yachties yes – but also what about a market located there; like at Salamanca place in Hobart?” Cr Bradbery asked.
“This is an old port it’s got heritage values. It’s got a lot going for it, it’s the focal point for a lot of tourism activity in the region and recreational use as well.”
Cr Bradbery floated the possibility of a market at an announcement that the state government had agreed to join with Wollongong City Council to create a Wollongong Harbour Master Plan.
“The harbour at the present time is looking pretty dismal,” Cr Bradbery said.
“The property actually belongs to the state government.
“The idea is that council has been putting the pressure on that the harbour needs to be master planned.
“We’ve got to get our head around how we can bring all the uses together – tourism, commercial fishers, recreational aspects – bringing all that together and making better use of the harbour.
“Council’s put in millions in term of the facilities around it, which is our land and our responsibility but now the state got have finally come to the party.”
Cr Bradbery said council officers and staff would sit down later this month to start the planning process, which will offer a unified approach to development in the harbour.
“If you’ve got an overview of the entire site – that’s what the master plan is about – then you can bite off bits and pieces as the funding becomes available,” he said.
“It won’t be done straight away but it gives you an idea of where you’re going.”
The master plan has been a long time coming, with development plans floated by the then-Labor government in 2008.
Cr Bradbery – who is running as an independent in this Saturday’s Wollongong byelection – said the eight-year delay was down to politics.
“Simply because you can overlook a seat that’s been continually represented by one party and just take it for granted,” Cr Bradbery said.
“That’s been the story of Wollongong for as long as I’ve become mayor.
I just don’t want this to be the end of the story, it needs to be progressed.
“This is a state asset, it should have been done a long time ago.”