Creating inviting spaces to welcome people back into the town centre — that’s the aim of a new parklet trial being launched in Shoal Bay today by Port Stephens Council.
Parklets are a pathway extension that converts part of the road into vibrant community spaces, with more seating for cafes and restaurants. They are being used all over the world to increase public space for communities.
Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer says Shoal Bay’s new attraction is thanks to funding from the NSW Government’s Streets as Shared Spaces program.
“Shoal Bay is a popular destination in Port Stephens for both locals and visitors alike, and we’re working hard to revitalise and modernise the town centre.
“These parklets have been designed to increase space for cafes and restaurants, and give pedestrians more room — which is really important for welcoming people back to public spaces safely during COVID-19.
“While the parklets were originally slated for Nelson Bay, we listened to the communities in both Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay to get the best result. We found there were greater opportunities for improvement in Shoal Bay and plenty of support.
“We have also offset any loss of parking spaces with the creation of temporary spaces in the Shoal Bay town centre,” he said.
“As well as the parklets, we’ll soon be getting to work on a range of improvements for Shoal Bay including new amenities, a shared pathway along the foreshore and new park furniture. It’s all about creating vibrant and inviting places for people to enjoy,” he said.
La Dolce Vita owner Jamie Harding says it’s great to see something being done in the town centre.
“I think it’s great! This will bring a bit more atmosphere to the waterfront and give people a reason to come and visit Shoal Bay.
“It will mean more people, more seating and more opportunities for all businesses on the waterfront,” Mr Harding said.
Mayor Palmer says the installation of parklets coincides with the launch of the Endless Summer program of events, thanks to the NSW Government’s Summer Fund.
“After 12 months without events, there’s so much happening across Port Stephens to encourage people to get out and about and bring people safely back to our major shopping districts.
“From live music to artistic demonstrations and so much more — our Endless Summer program has plenty for the whole family to enjoy and it’s all happening every Saturday evening at Shoal Bay Foreshore.
“I’d encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the warm weather and incredible natural beauty of Port Stephens,” he said.