Wollongong City Council has released its future vision for Port Kembla, revealing plans to turn the town and surrounding natural areas into a lively, well-used heritage and tourism centre.
In a new draft revitalisation plan, the council has laid out a multi-million dollar proposal to transform the former industrial suburb over the next 25 years.
Home to about 5000 people, Port Kembla has a strong industrial, indigenous and military history, the council says, as well as a wealth of natural beauty.
However, it is plagued by “spatially disconnected” assets, conflict between residential and industrial land, the dramatic loss of working population in recent decades and an “oversized” town centre that’s two-blocks too long.
Further, the town has to compete with a regional shopping centre in nearby Warrawong, and has an underused, unsafe and isolated public transport system.
To overcome these issues, the council had split the suburb into five distinct precincts: Wentworth Street, Military Road, coastal areas including MM Beach and Hill 60, recreational areas including King Geroge V park and Port Kembla pool, and Coomaditchie Lagoon.
The industrial port lands which neighbour these areas are exempt from the plan and will remain for employment.
The future vision, which is open for comment until March 23, includes a series of before and after photomontages showing some of the council’s plans.
For instance, Wentworth Street would have wider footpaths and kerb “blisters” jutting out into the street to allow for outdoor dining, while more street trees, banners and upgraded shopfronts would add life to the town.
At MM Beach and Hill 60, the council has proposed whale watching platforms and launch sites for paragliders, as well as cycling facilities and extra play equipment to encourage more families to use the area.
And at Coomaditchie Lagoon, an artists impression shows a sweeping boardwalk, signage showing information about indigenous heritage and BBQ, picnic and fitness equipment.
Full details of the revitalisation plan are on the council’s website.