Port Stephens receives $3 million grant for better public spaces

Port Stephen

New shared paths and better civic spaces are on the cards for Port Stephens, with Council successfully receiving a $3 million grant from the NSW Government’s Public Spaces Legacy Fund.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin MLC (front) with Councillor John Nell, Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer, Councillor Chris Doohan and Councillor Giacomo Arnott at Little Beach.

Port Stephens Council received funding to upgrade the Raymond Terrace town centre, create a new town square at Lemon Tree Passage as well as shared paths at along the foreshore at Lemon Tree Passage and Nelson Bay.

The grant is part of $15 million in funding for the Hunter Region announced by Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin at Little Beach today, alongside Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer.

“This program will create legacy public spaces for future generations, as well as keep people in the Hunter in jobs to ensure the local economy keeps moving,” Mr Martin said.

Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer says the funding will improve public spaces across Port Stephens.

“These projects are designed to make a real and lasting positive impact by creating valued public spaces for our community now and into the future — leaving a legacy for generations to come.

“Years from now, our children and grandchildren will be able to point to these legacy projects and appreciate how they have helped change our public and open spaces in Port Stephens for the better.

“In Lemon Tree Passage we’re planning to create a town square on the foreshore, which could become the new community heart of the Tilligerry Peninsula. We’ll also build a shared pathway from Henderson Park to Rudd Reserve.

“In Nelson Bay, we’ll build on the success of the Streets as Shared Spaces trial at Fly Point to create a permanent shared pathway from Nelson Bay town centre to Shoal Bay West. This foreshore is a huge attraction for locals and visitors, so it will be fantastic to better connect our coast.

“In Raymond Terrace, we’ll be implementing key actions from the Public Domain Plan to improve connectivity and make the town centre more attractive, safe and vibrant. This may include new entry signage, paving, street furniture, planting, public art and accessibility improvements,” he said.

To be eligible for funding, local councils must accelerate their assessments of development applications (DAs) and rezonings to create new development capacity and meet demand for housing and employment over the next decade.

Mayor Palmer says it’s a credit to Council’s employees for successfully meeting these targets.

“This $3 million of funding has been made possible thanks to the hard work of Port Stephens Council’s employees.

“Our Strategic Planning team have revamped the rezoning process to reduce timeframes and increase transparency — they were even highly commended at the NSW Local Government Excellence Awards for these improvements.

“Our Development Assessment team have also been smashing goals. They have achieved a median determination timeframe of 24 days — well below the NSW Government’s target of 40 days.

“We’re now working through the planning, design and community consultation on these projects to deliver by the end of 2022,” he said.

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