Council revives talk of creating a suburb to be called Lake Macquarie

DEVELOPMENT: The former Pasminco smelter site is expected to transform in coming years and is being rezoned for large-format retailers. The council has begun talks to draft a new suburb around the site called Lake Macquarie.
DEVELOPMENT: The former Pasminco smelter site is expected to transform in coming years and is being rezoned for large-format retailers. The council has begun talks to draft a new suburb around the site called Lake Macquarie.

There is renewed interest in creating a Lake Macquarie-named suburb, this time around the former Pasminco land to help transform the area into the heart of the city.

Lake Macquarie council has begun internal talks about drafting the suburb and recently held a workshop to investigate the concept.

While the suburb idea has been tossed about for years, and attempts to make it happen have previously failed, a process to consider the change is now underway.

Three potential suburb boundaries have emerged.

One is the former Pasminco land and Cockle Creek train station, another adds on the rest of Boolaroo, while a third includes land west of T C Frith Avenue only down to Speers Point Park.

The proposal is still at a formative stage, but Liberal councillor Jason Pauling wants to "start the consultation process" to "identify an area" for the suburb now.

"We had a workshop, we've got a couple of maps. Let's go to consultation and take the maps out to the public. Let's not dither around for another eight months, let's just get on with it," he said.

Cr Pauling said creating a new suburb would help the ongoing transformation of the area, which is expected to attract "retail-tourism" should large-scale retailers set up shop as mooted.

"My personal view is if IKEA and Coscto came, even if those two blocks of land were called Lake Macquarie, that would be enough for me from a marketing point of view for the city," he said.

"If it was the entire Pasminco site, no problem. If it included Bunderra, no problem. I'd like it to include Cockle Creek train station, which you could rename and redevelop, potentially you could even stretch it down to touch the lake. There's so many options as to how little or big you make it."

Cr Pauling, who will move a notice of motion next week proposing early community consultation, said a "different approach" was being taken to those that had previously failed to create the suburb.

"We're starting with residences not included. This time they'll be saying, 'we'd like to be included'," he said.

Independent councillor John Gilbert said he was supportive of the suburb but wants the area transformed into the city's CBD.

"There's heaps of potential there," he said. "Let's get a purpose-built, designed-from-scratch, blank-canvas central business district."

Labor councillor Barney Langford said there was "generally broad support" for the suburb, but the concept was still being investigated.

"You can't do anything until you've talked to the community," he said. "If we've got this area that is in effect a new suburb, in consultation with the community, there might be an opportunity here to establish a suburb called Lake Macquarie."

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