Spotlight shone on Gosford, the quiet achiever, at the recent PIA State Conference
Last month our Senior Town Planner, Lisa Wrightson, had the great opportunity of attending the NSW State Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) conference in Orange, a wonderful part of regional NSW about 3 hours west of Sydney.
The theme of the conference was “Lessons for Growth, Jobs and Lifestyle” and was all about creating opportunities for growth in regional NSW. Presentations were varied and looked at the new inland and high-speed rail opportunities and associated infrastructure, revitalisation opportunities and lessons we might be able to learn, the demographics of and changes in regional areas and much more.
Gary White, the new Chief Planner from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, had some great insights to share at the conference about the new planning system that was really indicative of where we should be heading from a strategic planning viewpoint. Using this model as a basis for planning in not just Sydney, but the whole of NSW will ensure we will have successful planning for the future of NSW.
Lisa presented a paper on Gosford and the Central Coast Region, as being the up and coming quiet achiever after being overlooked in the midst of the “N-S-W” corridor between Newcastle, Sydney Wollongong. Sitting as the forgotten “middle child” in the middle of Sydney and Newcastle, the Central Coast provides a location for commuters and those enjoying the coastal lifestyle to reside.
Recently the State government has seen the potential for Gosford to become a major city centre. They have seen the role it will be able to play in providing another location for government services, housing, employment, transport and importantly lifestyle. For many years residents from the Central Coast have been commuting to Sydney, and Newcastle to a lesser extent, to find employment. As Gosford changes, so will the ability for those on the coast to find local employment and services.
This growth was initiated by the former Gosford City Council (now Central Coast Council) and has been taken on by the NSW Government, Department of Planning, Government Architect and the new Co-ordinator General for the Central Coast.
Higher densities were introduced, including early development bonuses, close to the railway station and services. They commenced a flurry of development applications, a growth in real estate prices and positivity that had not been seen in the Gosford area for several years. Council along with the State Government played a key role in this development. A new draft State policy and infrastructure contribution to assist with the upgrade of essential services has recently been exhibited.
Lisa’s presentation revealed the challenges, benefits and vision for the Gosford City centre from the private sector perspective. Some of which included:
- Changing demographic – transition from a retirement community to younger demographic;
- Providing a point of difference for the local economy;
- Placemaking – making the area attractive for people to live and work;
- Density – will people want to live in the high-density units; and
- Public transport and linkages to other regional centres.
The presentation on Gosford as the quiet achiever was well received, with a number of speakers at the PIA conference agreeing that this area is a hidden gem within the Central Coast and is deserving of attention.
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