Council upgrades Umina Beach viewing area
Central Coast Council has upgraded the Umina Beach viewing area and removed rubbish from the area, with the help of local surf clubs and community groups.
"Council worked closely with the local community and surf club to find the best way to enhance this area and the results speak for themselves," said Council director Mr Mike Dowling.
"Umina Beach now has a rubbish and vandalism free viewing area," he said.
"Residents and visitors will reap the benefits and have access to a cleaner, more inviting beach area free from debris and ageing infrastructure."
Mr Dowling said the community and Council had pulled together to deliver a great outcome and the feedback from local businesses was immediate and positive.
However, the feedback from Peninsula Chamber of Commerce was critical.
Chamber president Mr Matthew Wales said Council needed to shift its focus to the beachfront between Ocean Beach Surf Club and Ettalong Point.
"You can't go up there and put little plants in dunes and pretend that, in 12 months' time, all the sand is going to come back.
"All the money they have put into dune restoration over the years has basically been picked up by the high tide and thrown out to sea.
"We have to put in a new revetment wall.
"I am sick and tired of studies.
"We can pretend and we can pay lip service to the environmental process but it has clearly made no difference what so ever.
"This is a beach nourishment exercise. It has to be.
"We have to think seriously about promenading between the Ocean Beach Surf Club and Ettalong Point to put it to good use for the community instead of hiding our best asset behind a bunch of lantana and bitou bush," he said.
However, mayor Cr Jane Smith said the current upgrade work would continue after the school holidays and would include more new fencing, planting, new garden beds, mulching and top soils.
She said the upgrade had provided great integration between the built and natural environment of the area, enhancing the visitor experience immensely.
"This is another example of Council working with the community and local surf clubs to improve the quality of life for its residents and foster community spirit," Cr Smith said.
"Our community has told us enhancing our natural environment, particularly our beaches are a priority and it is something we take great pride in delivering.
"The community has definitely taken ownership of these upgrades and are maintaining them to ensure they continue to reap benefits for years to come."
Mr Wales commented: "I swim there every day and I was down there yesterday just doing my normal swim and there was so little beach that the lifeguard barely had enough room to get his shelter between the base of the dune and the high tide mark.
"That beach was packed and I was actually embarrassed by the state of the dune and the foreshore at a time when we are trying to attract visitors to the Peninsula.
"It seems the Council has very little interest in doing anything to that beachfront," he said.
"I am tired of the attitude that Mother Nature will take its course. She is taking its course by stripping that beach of sand and dumping it out in the channel.
"Most of the population agrees that we should bulldoze all the scrub in the dunes and put in a promenade," Mr Wales said.
Mr Wales said the Chamber believed all three levels of government needed to contribute to the cost of building the proposed promenade.
"I believe the budget needs to be in the order of $5 to $6 million," he said.
"Look how unbelievably successful the promenading at Ettalong is.
"It is used on a weekly basis by thousands.
"The Ettalong beachfront cost about $5.5million and in the scheme of things it is a modest amount and the public benefit is enormous for such a small investment that will last forever.
Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch said she would love to be part of any project that would expand tourism in her electorate but that it was a medium-term priority behind delivery of basic infrastructure on the Peninsula.
Cr Smith said residents wishing to find out more about joining a Council supported Bushcare group could call 4325 8222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media release, 17 Jan 2018
Mike Dowling, Central Coast Council
Interview, 23 Jan 2018
Matthew Wales, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
Interview, 23 Jan 2018
Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford
Reporter: Jackie Pearson