January 20, 2014

THE $200 million Trinity Point marina project has been refloated, with high hopes of construction starting this year.

The project made waves when it was first announced in 2006, as one of the biggest developments in Lake Macquarie’s history and among the largest marinas in the state.

Developer Keith Johnson said the global financial crisis hampered the marina project, but an investor was now on board.

The NSW government approved a concept plan for the marina five years ago on a 23-hectare site at Morisset Park.

Johnson Property Group has applied to the NSW government to extend its approval – which lapses on September 5 this year – to October 1, 2016.

Other planned changes include a helipad, which Mr Johnson said was a necessity “if Lake Macquarie is serious about being a tourist destination”.

“We need to have access for international tourists,” he said.

He said the M1 motorway could not always be relied upon because of accidents causing roadblocks.

The approved concept plan includes 188 marina berths for vessels eight to 20 metres long, 150 dwellings in one- to five-storey buildings, a boardwalk, conference centre, restaurant, shops and an office.

The dwellings comprise 75 tourist units and 75 residential units.

Planned changes to the project include developing the marina in six stages, rather than two.

The helipad would include a maximum of six movements a week, with no night activity.

This was reduced from an earlier proposal of 28 movements a week.

Southlake Business Chamber and Community Alliance president Robert Kemmis wondered if the property group would apply for more helicopter movements down the track.

“We encourage business and we’d like to see the marina there and the resort,” Mr Kemmis said.

“I don’t know we’re that enthusiastic about the idea of starting stage one without proper roads and infrastructure.

“We’d like to have seen more of a positive start, but I can understand they’d want to get started without big capital outlays.”

Mr Johnson said he had to be realistic.

While the market was recovering, there was some way to go.

The property group’s development director Bryan Garland said the group was “100 per cent committed” to the project.

“We want to start building the marina and restaurant this year,” Mr Garland said.

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