June 15, 2015

By Damon Cronshaw

A BIG part of the $388 million Trinity Point marina project is up for approval, as plans to boost Lake Macquarie’s tourism credentials set sail.

A Lake Macquarie City Council report recommended approving the first 94 marina berths, which the Joint Regional Planning Panel will consider on Thursday.

Johnson Property Group is planning the project at Morisset Park. The company’s managing director Keith Johnson said the project would be an ‘‘ employment hub’’ .

‘‘ It’s certainly going to be good for Lake Macquarie,’’ he said.

The NSW government approved a concept plan six years ago for the 23-hectare site.

The project was put on hold after the global financial crisis, but Mr Johnson revised the plan and secured new finance to progress it.

The new plan includes 198 residential lots, 250 tourism and residential apartments, a 60-room hotel, restaurant, cafe, 300-seat conference centre and 188 marina berths.

The council is still assessing the bulk of this plan, but has completed its assessment of the first 94 berths, along with an office, chandlery, landscaping, amenities building and car parking. A council report said 127 submissions were received from the public, mostly objections. Concerns related to lake health, water quality, noise, traffic, changes to scenery and effects on boat users. There was a ‘‘ general objection to the scale and siting of the facility and it’s promotion’’ . The report said ‘‘ all issues raised have been confirmed as being acceptable against the relevant planning guidelines’’ .

‘‘ Where required, additional protection is imposed through specific conditions of consent,’’ it said.

While the plan caused angst among some locals, others expressed support and welcomed the prospect of new eateries and jobs.

Mr Johnson, who believes about 70 per cent of the community supports the plan, has carried out an expansive campaign to promote what he plans to be a worldclass project.

In a marketing coup, he signed former Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins as the face of the project.

Ms Hawkins said at the launch last October that Mr Johnson’s passion inspired her to be involved.

Article online Newcastle Herald

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