Toronto Foreshore Protection Group has offered a rare bouquet to Lake Macquarie City Council in the ongoing dispute over the council’s plans to build a multi-storey development in Bath Street.
But the bouquet is for the council of 1980, not the current crop of civic leaders.
TFPG has discovered a brochure printed in 1980 which refers to council’s “intention to extend the foreshore park” and recommending “the foreshore park should be extended to Bath Street”.
The brochure was prepared for the council by urban designers and architects and, although it is decades old, TFPG argues it is relevant because it reiterates the long-recommended plan for the Toronto foreshore.
“The fact the brochure highlights council’s intention for this foreshore area to be park explains why the community believed that it was now park and why community groups undertook voluntary Landcare improvement works on part of the land,” TFPG spokesman Mel Steiner said.
But the council-owned parcel of land is zoned operational.
So the council is exploring the possibility of developing a residential, tourism and commercial venture on the site that would be a long-term source of income for the city. The council has also committed $9 million to improving the rest of the foreshore strip, which could possibly include landscaping, gardens, outdoor furniture and an ampitheatre.
The council points out that the Bath Street proposal would comprise about 10 per cent of the foreshore land.
But Mr Steiner said the council proposal was inappropriate.
“Taking any amount of the foreshore land is too much,” he said.
“The primary intention of council should be to provide services and amenities to its community. Council’s primary objective should not be to make money.”
Mr Steiner said TFPG had identified alternative sites in Toronto which would be a better fit for council’s planned development.
“But on this site, they’ll benefit a few but take away from many.”
Mr Steiner said TFPG would prefer to see the site used for a landscaped car park at the top of the block, with maybe a low-profile coffee shop, canoe or boat hire facility, and picnic tables and chairs near a shared pathway closer to the water.