TORONTO Foreshore Protection Group will on Monday present Lake Macquarie City Council with a petition containing 5100 signatures objecting to plans for a multi-storey development in Bath Street.
TFPG spokesman Nico Marcar said the petition called for the scrapping of council’s proposal to construct a tourism and residential building of up to six storeys on public land at the lake’s edge.
“The petition also seeks reclassification of the land to community parkland,” Mr Marcar said.
“The support for the petition has shown that we are not representing a vocal minority but a substantial portion of the local community, people who are truly concerned about the loss of connection with the lake and insufficient public space for a growing population.”
Council in April voted to explore the feasibility of progressing a Bath Street proposal to the development application (DA) stage – a process that would cost up to $1 million.
The Bath Street site, next to Royal Motor Yacht Club, Toronto, is zoned operational.
Council said a commercial venture on the site would provide the city with another long-term source of income and - as part of a $9-million upgrade of the entire foreshore that could include picnic facilities, gardens and play areas - help to “activate” Toronto.
But council said there was “misinformation” circulating about its intentions.
Council said any suggestion that the entire foreshore area of Toronto had been earmarked as “operational land for development” was incorrect.
“The proposed development site comprises less than 10 per cent of the Toronto foreshore area,” a council spokesperson said.
But even 10 per cent of the foreshore is too much for TFPG and its supporters.
“We’ve received over 5000 signatures that support a continuous foreshore park from Wharf Road including Bath Street,” Mr Marcar said.
“That’s a strong community vote preferring parkland over multi-storey development.”
A council spokesperson said any petition presented by TFPG would be added to the feedback already received by the council. That includes feedback provided by locals at four community drop-in sessions, and in an online survey with an interactive map on which locals were invited to list what improvements they would like to see made on the foreshore.
“This information is still being examined, however, it is evident from the submissions that there are a multitude of ideas and preferences for the Toronto Foreshore Master Plan and the proposed development site,” the spokesperson said.
Initial geotechnical, heritage and environmental studies of the Bath Street site have started.
“Information from these studies will inform preparation of the foreshore master plan in conjunction with the detailed design for the development,” the spokesperson said.
“The community will have further opportunities to provide feedback on this proposal once preliminary master plan concepts have been created.
“A development application for the Bath Street site will be submitted to the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel, which will assess the application independently of council.”
Mr Marcar said the 5100 signatories and 194 comments on the petition sent a very clear message to the council.
“We’re hoping that our elected representatives will consider the depth of community feeling and use the opportunity to provide much-needed additional open space on the foreshore,” he said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.