Central Coast Council will likely proceed with a new design for the Winney Bay cliff top walkway despite being given a 21 day deadline to revert to the original plan and claim the $4.6M available for the project in State government funding.
The matter is listed on the agenda for Council’s next meeting on September 9, but a reversal of position seems unlikely.
Council voted in May to reject the original plan, which had been approved for government funding, and proceed on a revised project, citing geotechnical concerns among other issues.
The government had made it clear at the time that the funding approval was for the original proposal and would not be transferable for a revised project.
On August 28, Infrastructure NSW gave Council a 21 day deadline to either approve the original plan or relinquish the funding.
Mayor, Jane Smith, who used her casting vote in May to reject the original plan, said she was confident a revised plan would meet the objectives of both the grant program and the project itself.
She said council would continue to progress an upgrade to the cliff top walk that is “more compatible with the local environment and community expectations.
“Council has signed off on the Terrigal Boardwalk Project, under the same funding program, and has committed significant funds along with the State Government on what will be a great asset for the community,” Clr Smith said.
“I would like to see a result for Winney Bay where the State Government comes on board and works with Council to deliver a great upgrade that we can all be proud of.”
But Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, said handing back the available funding would be a “humiliating act for the Coast”.
“The Winney Bay Cliff Top Walk has majority support from public consultation, as well as endorsement from Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council, Regional Development Australia Central Coast, and the 5 Lands Walk Committee,” Crouch said.
Aboriginal culture educator and one of the co-founders of the 5 Lands Walk, Kevin (Gavi) Duncan, urged reverting to the original plan and taking advantage of the government funds.
He said the 5 Lands Walk was like a “major artery” along the coastline, which was “blocked” in regard to the environmental space around Winney Bay, which needed to be “healed and cleansed”.
“The area has asbestos issues from a house built there in the past and the whole vegetation of the land is foreign in itself,” Duncan said.
“People have been given the wrong impression of the land and what the proposed clean-up is.
“Plans are to bring the land back to its original environmental state so that everyone can once again enjoy this amazing open space along the walk.
“It would be such a loss to the whole of the Coast community to lose this opportunity for funding for something that would only enhance our beautiful coastline.”
5 Lands Walk President, Con Ryan, has also urged Council to reverse its decision and accept the grant money for the “benefit of the whole community”.
Ryan said the construction of a pathway would form a vital part of the upgrade of Del Monte Pl.
The walkway, he said, would cater for walkers during and after the annual Walk, keeping them off the road and improving road safety and accessibility for locals.
“If Central Coast Council accepts the $4.6M package from the NSW State Government to complete the cliff top walk, including the whale-themed bridge and lookout, this would eliminate the need for pedestrians on the 5 Lands Walk to use the current route along the road from Del Monte Pl to Del Monte Reserve,” he said.
“Not only will this improve road safety, it will eliminate the need for special traffic arrangements on the day of the event, and therefore significantly reduce disruption to the residents of Del Monte Pl and the connecting streets.”
Media release, Aug 28
Member for Terrigal,
Media statement, Aug 30
Gavi Duncan, 5 Lands Walk co-founder
Media release, Aug 30
Central Coast Mayor,
Media statement, Aug 30
Con Ryan, President,
5 Lands Walk