September 9, 2014

By DAMON CRONSHAW

Lake Marina Expected To Be Tourist Drawcard

THE Trinity Point marina project for Morisset Park is back on the agenda, with an international hotel, 100 extra apartments and $190 million added to a plan that its backer says will put Lake Macquarie on the map. ‘‘This will mean to Lake Macquarie what Circular Quay does to Sydney,’’ Keith Johnson said yesterday.

IT’S the top-class tourism project that Lake Macquarie has been wanting and needing for years, developer Keith Johnson says.

Mr Johnson has unveiled new plans for a $388 million investment in the Trinity Point marina project at Morisset Park. ‘‘This will mean to Lake Macquarie what Circular Quay does to Sydney,’’ Mr Johnson said. ‘‘We’ll put Lake Macquarie on the map.’’

The NSW government approved a concept plan five years ago for the 23-hectare site, including a 188-berth marina, 150 apartments, a restaurant, boardwalk, conference centre and shops.

The project was put on hold after the global financial crisis, but Mr Johnson said he now had finance secured for the project.

Under the new plan, Mr Johnson has increased the number of apartments to 250 and added a 60-room hotel. He was making ‘‘good progress’’ on negotiations with international hotels.

The previous approval allowed for a mixture of two- to four-storey buildings, and this would not change with the new plan, he said. The revised plans will be submitted to Lake Macquarie City Council this month. ‘‘We’re asking council to support more because the demand is there,’’ Mr Johnson said. The council will assess the plans and the Joint Regional Planning Panel will make the final decision.

Sunshine Progress Association president John Quinlan said the association wanted a high-class development on the site, ‘‘but this appears to be an overdevelopment’’. Mr Quinlan said the plan should not be approved because it would be much bigger than the original concept plan. But Mr Johnson said ‘‘you won’t even know the difference’’.

Lake Macquarie Tourism Association chairman Robert Kemmis said ‘‘we want a really good tourism development’’. He said it ‘‘might be a bit hard on some of the locals’’. ‘‘But from a tourism point of view, a good well-run marina is good news – so long as it doesn’t take over the lake,’’ Mr Kemmis said.

‘‘There’s a big demand for good on-the-water accommodation, with on-the-water facilities,’’ he said. The property group described the development as being ‘‘nestled in a designed, wrap-around, tropical landscape’’, with large lawns, shaped pools and landscaping.

A helipad is planned, but needs state approval. The NSW Planning Assessment Commission is considering the property group’s application to build the marina in up to six stages, instead of the two stages originally approved.

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