The fishermen’s co-op would be knocked down and redeveloped and all boat building and maintenance facilities could be removed, under the NSW Government’s long-term plans for a “significant intervention” at Wollongong Harbour.
Under the draft master plan, released on Thursday, the harbour would also have a new central pier cafe – which could include a yacht club and function centre, as well as a ship supplies store and other marine services – and designated swimming areas made inaccessible to boats.
A second new building would be built into the corner of Endeavour Drive and Belmore Basin, housing a museum and charter hire facilities.
The master plan describes the old co-op building as “much-criticised” as it cuts off pedestrian access around the waterfront and was built for activities that no longer suit that part of the harbour.
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“In the long term there is an opportunity to redevelop this site and provide a landmark building that can capitalise on its location and provide better access to the waterfront,” the plan says.
On the continuation of boat building and maintenance facilties, the plan is unclear, saying “the idea of a working harbour … is an evolving concept”.
It indicates fishing, charters and tourism should be maintained, but has questioned the “long-term financial viability” of boat repairs and other marine uses.
To resolve the difficulties of the “arbitrary” ownership at the harbour – which is jointly managed by the council and state – the master plan also recommends the establishment of a harbour manager’s role.
This person could be employed by the council and initially funded by the NSW Department of Industry, the plans say, and would have a presence at the museum/tourist centre.
Eventually, it would become a self-sufficient role funded by the commercial operations at the harbour.
For five of the major development items in the plan, the NSW Government has flagged a possible partnership with private developers.
These include the central pier kiosk and restaurant building and a long-term plan to build a cafe into Flagstaff Hill.
Private developers could also be involved with the building of a museum facing Belmore Basin and Endeavour Drive, rebuilding the co-op and extending the Continental Baths, the draft plans say.
The plan looks to balance the needs of a working harbour with increasing tourism and recreational users.Gareth Ward
And, in a series of “initial discussion points” they have explored the idea of a major reconstruction of the harbour’s northern breakwater wall. This could, they say, be extended out and looped around the existing entry to the harbour to accommodate a larger marina.
This could then open up space for a floating cafe and marina moorings.
Open for comment
Releasing the plan, Illawarra Parliamentary Secretary Gareth Ward said the government had consulted with residents, stakeholders and Wollongong City Council to come up with the plan.
“This project is about the people of Wollongong, how to make it an even better place to live as well as attracting investment and tourism to the Illawarra,” he said.
“Wollongong Harbour’s long history and heritage, as well as its ongoing commercial and recreational use, make it an essential part of the makeup of the region.
“The plan looks to balance the needs of a working harbour with increasing tourism and recreational users.”
The community has just 28 days to view and comment on the plan, with a final vision to be released on October 15.
On August 9, residents can attend a ‘drop-in’ information sessions from 11.30am-1.30pm and 4-6 pm at the NSW Government offices, 84 Crown Street.
The plan can be viewed online at: www.industry.nsw.gov.au/lands/public/on-exhibition/wollongong-harbour-draft-master-plan