Lake Macquarie City Council has allocated $25 million in its budget to progress the proposed Bath Street development in Toronto.
The $25 million, over four years, has been set aside for the construction of the proposed multi-storey residential and tourism building.
Council said it was "sensible" to ensure it had the necessary funding available to progress the project.
But Toronto Foreshore Protection Group, which opposes the development, said the budget allocation was "audacious".
"We're gobsmacked that $25 million has already been allocated under this plan to progress and build something which has no development application (DA), has not gone through any planning process or sought any community comments," TFPG spokesperson Suzanne Pritchard said.
"It has been extremely frustrating that our hundreds of community comments to date have been misrepresented, undervalued and ignored."
The $25m allocation is outlined in the council's draft Lake Mac Operations Plan 2019-2020 and Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021.
The council has also set aside $9 million to develop and implement the Toronto Foreshore Master Plan.
A spokesperson for the council said the community had been consulted on the Bath Street plan, and would continue to be.
"We have undertaken consultation with the Toronto community in relation to the Toronto Foreshore Master Plan and the interface between the proposed development," the spokesperson said.
The consultation included drop-in information sessions, an online survey, and an interactive map.
The spokesperson said it was appropriate to set aside funds for the Bath Street proposal.
"It's sensible for council to ensure we have the resources and budget available before we proceed to the development application process," they said.
"Council can demonstrate a strong history of delivering large-scale projects, all of which had funding allocated for construction in advance, such as $15 million for Pasterfield Sports Complex, Cameron Park Community Centre, in 2018; $40 million for the Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange Stage 1, Section 1 Roadworks, in 2017; and $3.2 million for the West Wallsend Swim Centre refurbishment, in 2015."
Ms Pritchard said she looked forward to the community's response to this budget allocation.
"We're urging the community to comment on this audacious budget line - 80 per cent of the $31 million new works budget in the Diverse Economy focus area for the whole city is being earmarked for a development the Toronto community does not want," she said.
Council said the proposed building was not a done deal.
"Council will continue to consider the feasibility of the proposed development throughout the design and assessment process," the spokesperson said.
The community will soon have another opportunity to comment on the Bath Street plan.
"From mid-2019, the community will have further opportunities to provide feedback on the interface between the proposed development and the adjacent foreshore land classified for community use," the council spokesperson said.