LAKE MACQUARIE council will exhibit a five-year action plan to grow the city's night-time economy with councillors unanimously voting to adopt a Night Time Economy Policy.
The draft policy was exhibited over five weeks late last year with consultation undertaken by staff during that time, including gaining survey responses from 356 people and 68 businesses.
Following the consultation, council staff developed the draft Night Time Economy Action Plan 2019-2024, which was presented at the council's ordinary meeting on Monday night.
"We have developed a draft action plan, which sets the objectives, priorities and actions for council to take over the next five years, to allow Lake Macquarie to become a vibrant and attractive night-time lifestyle and business destination in NSW," Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser said.
The plan outlines steps to grow the city's night-time economy across six focus areas: diversity, entertainment, creative uses of public spaces, transport, safe and vibrant centres, and governance and communication.
"To ensure Lake Macquarie City remains competitive and attracts new investment and residents to the area, council needs to create and support a suitable environment for a night-time economy," Cr Fraser said.
"Over the past 18 months, through a number of community consultations, our community has told us they would like more to do after dark in Lake Macquarie."
Some short-term actions, to be undertaken in one to two years, include reviewing community grants to encourage ideas to make the city more vibrant after hours, running a pilot program of events in Warners Bay, Charlestown, Belmont and Toronto, and trialing creative lighting in city spaces to increase activity.
Mid-term actions, to be undertaken in two to four years, include hosting events and live performances that enable a better experience of the natural environment, making applications for small events and small venues easier, and investigating opportunities for schools and sporting groups to diversify their offerings into night-time activities.
Long-term actions, to be undertaken in five years or more, include exploring dedicated 'pop-up' hospitality bays, developing a live music action plan and investigating better transport options, including adaptive parking in the city's urban centres.
The Night Time Economy Policy statement notes the council supports, in principle, the establishment of new night-time economy businesses and traders; the extension of business hours, where appropriate, for existing hospitality and retail businesses; the establishment of live entertainment venues; and the hosting of events that occur after 5pm.
The action plan will be placed on public exhibition for 14 days.