Saturday, January 3, 2009

Nobbys Privatisation Back on the Cards

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts is inviting comment regarding the new plans for Nobbys headland submitted on the 22 December 2008.

The original proposal was rejected by Minister Peter Garrett on the 19 May 2008.

The new plan shows 7 units and a 46 seat restaurant, the proposed new 'Managers residence' of the last proposal is exactly the same but renamed Units 6-7. The open space has been left around the lighthouse.

Even though the proposal looks better, with the lighthouse free of obstruction, the plans are still of great concern as the problems with servicing the proposed restaurant and units are still present, especially the excessive vehicle traffic that will be required along the historic Macquarie's Pier to service the facilities. It's a huge improvement in terms of massing of buildings, and good to see that the light house tower is remaining a free-standing 'object'.

However, according to UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Urban Development for Asia and the Pacific Chair, School of Architecture and Built Environment Professor Steffen Lehmann, the crucial question remains:
How do they envisage to organise the access? The vehicular traffic (guests, staff, garbage collection, kitchen delivery, etc etc etc) will destroy the precious quality of the pedestrian walk! The immature idea to run a hourly bus will not work - we know this already.

Best would be to totally skip the over-night stay component, and to limit access by vehicles. There are all arguments for a good cafe up there, but none for a small 'boutique hotel'.

Most people would agree that the prime objective is to allow safe community public access to the Nobbys Headland, without compromising the security of the Port installations there.

Again, as with the original proposal, the prime objective for such a culturally and important iconic site should not be financial.

The Gerald asks will the community be freely allowed to wander around the units? How much vehicle traffic will there be along the historic Macquarie's Pier breakwater?

Why is this proposal on Newcastle's most important heritage and cultural icon, on public crown land in the hands of a private developer?

It is also misleading that the development is referrd to as 'Proposed Adaptive reuse of Nobbys Headland' , when it includes a new development (Units 6-7) there will be no interpretation of the history of the site and the signal station will also be made into a 3 story accommodation unit, there will not be a focus on interpretation, future research or educational aspects of the site.

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts is inviting public comment on the latest proposal by the 8th January 2008. Documents are below. (Reference Number: 2008/4672)

Title of Referral: Nobbys Lighthouse Pty Ltd/Tourism and recreation/adjacent to Nobbys Lighthouse, Newcastle/NSW/Nobbys Headland Redevelopment
Date Received: 22 Dec 2008 Reference Number: 2008/4672
Notification from EPBC Act Date of Notice Documents
  • Invitation for Public Comment on Referral
22 Dec 2008 Referral Attachment A Attachment B Attachment F Attachment D Attachment E Attachment C

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