More homes near town centres, new jobs and improved public spaces are the cornerstones of a Lake Macquarie City Council plan to guide land use for the coming decades.
Councillors voted on Monday night to put the draft Lake Mac 2050 strategy on public exhibition for 42 days.
The plan identifies key strategic centres expected to be at the forefront of growth over the next 30 years, as well as the need for improved infrastructure and transport to attract new employers.
Lake Mac 2050, which is designed to work in conjunction with council’s broader 10-year citywide plan adopted in 2017, predicts increased residential density in and around suburbs including Glendale, Morisset, Belmont, Cardiff, Toronto, Swansea and Warners Bay.
Read more: Lake Macquarie’s $1.16b development boom
It identifies scope for a “significant redevelopment” of the Windale, Gateshead and Mount Hutton area over the medium-to-long-term and notes Charlestown will be the most densely populated suburb when it comes to businesses and residents – with growth slated for the eastern side of the Pacific Highway.
According to the plan, Lake Macquarie’s population will grow by about 50,000 people by 2050 - with 13,700 new homes and 11,741 extra jobs predicted by 2036.
It labels Lake Macquarie’s growth as an “opportunity to diversify the city’s employment base” in creative and knowledge-based industries and identifies infrastructure - particularly transport and recreational - as keys to drawing new employers.
The strategy noted that moving more people closer to town centres and improving public and active transport options would reduce reliance on motor vehicles and parking space.
It signalled the need for change, saying many town centres “have not reached their potential” and “to some extent, reflect the needs and priorities of the past”.
While the Herald recently reported council and the state government had not seen eye-to-eye on future work on the Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange, Lake Mac 2050 said the facility would stimulate growth at the northern end of the lake.
Read more: State, lake split over bridge
Mayor Kay Fraser, who was overseas and could not be at Monday’s meeting, told the Herald the plan was about being “self-sustaining” so people could live, work, get an education and spend their leisure time in the area.
“Our biggest challenge is to adequately provide for a growing community, by ensuring we have a diverse economy that provides good employment opportunities for those who live here, as well as a quality lifestyle and environment,” she said.
“A growing community will need more housing choice, better public transport and better connectivity, both in a digital sense and physically between communities.”
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