Plans for a six-storey development on a prime waterfront site at Toronto should be scrapped and reconsidered, Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper said.
Lake Macquarie City Council is moving to build a six-storey mixed-use development on a waterfront site it owns in Bath Street next to the Royal Motor Yacht Club, but the plan has met with significant opposition from the community since the plan was unveiled last year.
“I do not support the council’s plans either,” Mr Piper said, “and I’m disturbed that councillors making the decision were only given a very limited set of options to consider.
“As a former councillor and mayor who knows how difficult that job can be, I’m always reluctant to involve myself with council matters as a State MP, but I don’t believe the councillors have properly considered other options for Bath Street and I’ve become increasingly concerned that they’re not listening to the local residents.
“For that reason, I commissioned a landscape architect to produce a concept plan for the site which I think is more in step with what the community wants and needs.
“Predominantly, the concept shows what could be achieved if the site became a public waterfront park with landscaped gardens and playgrounds, barbecue areas and space for festivals, pop-up markets and cafés. The natural slope of the site could see it transformed into an amphitheatre for live music and performances, with the whole site linking to the rest of the Toronto foreshore which the council is in the early stages of upgrading.
“If a six-storey development is built on this site, the land is lost to the community forever. It’s easy for councils to make a short-term financial gain from developing or selling iconic sites like this, but it will come at a great cost to future generations.
“We are seeing significant population growth around the lake and we need more open space, not less, particularly on the waterfront.
“I have raised this issue with the council on a number of occasions, and have written to each of the councillors this week with the concept plans, but I’m yet to hear from any of them.
“They need to listen to what the community is telling them about this development, and before they start spending even more money on six-storey development proposals, they need to start considering what they will leave future generations of the Toronto area.”