Woy Woy has been designated a “principal town centre” in a review conducted for Central Coast Council which was adopted at the December 10 council meeting.
The staff review has recommended a hierarchy for town centres that would see Woy Woy classified along with Wyong, The Entrance, Gosford and Terrigal as principal town centres.
Umina and Ettalong, as well as Toukley, Long Jetty, Budgewoi, Avoca and Kincumber, would become “major town centres … all of which should have a targeted and coordinated place activation focus for Council”.
“It is a key finding of this review that a more formalised and centrist approach is required within Council to ensure that we are properly servicing the identified principal and major town centres,” the review written by council staff said
“To meet this objective, an expansion of responsibilities and staffing would be needed,” it said.
The review also identified a “gap in the regional delivery of economic development for the Central Coast, particularly by Central Coast Council.
“Key aspects of strategic economic development linked to the needs of expectations of the community, such as sustainability, jobs generation, transport planning and support of innovation and start up businesses, are not currently being adequately addressed,” the review said.
The aim of the review was to “focus on holistic place management and activation, effectively addressing the interdependencies between effective asset management, marketing and promotion, tourism, business development, economic development and delivery of quality events within key precincts.
“The future management of town centres should aim to provide a strategic, streamlined and cost-effective approach, to ensure priority service delivery of town centre management functions.
“In a region as large and diverse as the Central Coast, the definition of a ‘town centre’ is important to establish, to ensure that coordinated resources are focused on areas that provide the best opportunity to achieve place activation, economic development and social connection to our community.”
All commercial property owners within the former Gosford Local Government Area pay Special Rate Levies, but only Gosford has been serviced by a third party entity responsible for marketing, promoting, event delivery, business development and varying levels of asset maintenance.
The review found that Council provided “limited and varying funding levels” which meant the town centres on the Peninsula struggled to get funding for events.
“Little funding is directly targeted towards activities or projects,” the review said.
“In the absence of a dedicated focus or town centre management team within Council, little coordination or strategic decision is taken to ensure capital works projects, maintenance or events and activations meet broader objectives,” it said.
Another finding was that aligned delivery of services such as security and cleaning would ensure best value and consistent service levels.
The review recommended that Council request the CEO to investigate how to resource a dedicated team within Council to coordinate town centre management.
Another recommendation was for Council to work with the NSW Business Chamber to develop a model to specifically support local economic and business development initiatives.
Council will also establish an external regional model to provide a regional focus and direction for delivery of economic development, marketing and promotion, business development and attraction of major events for town centres across the Coast.
A professional board for the regional model will be considered.
The Place Activation section within Council will be expanded to ensure best practice internal coordination of assets, contract management, leasing, delivery of events and services.
Central Coast Council Mayor, Clr Jane Smith, said th report back to Council should also “consider how we consult and engage with communities in those town centres”.
Central Coast Council agenda 4.1, 10 Dec 2018
Jackie Pearson, journalist