Peninsula won't reach potential without plan - Mehrtens
Gosford West Ward councillor Richard Mehrtens believes the Peninsula will not reach its full potential until Woy Woy has a masterplan.
"When I talk to people from the Peninsula, and as someone who works in Woy Woy, it didn't surprise me to see that Council didn't have a master plan for Woy Woy, and that there won't be one until at least 2020," he said.
"Right now, Woy Woy doesn't feel like a place with a plan or overarching vision."
This is despite Woy Woy last month being designated a principal town centre, in the same category as Gosford, The Entrance, and Terrigal.
"Gosford and The Entrance have had dedicated Business Improvement Districts to oversee events and place activation ... Woy Woy needs that same attention.
"With this designation should come the same level of attention and investment that those town centres see, and a determined vision of what Woy Woy should be in the next decade and beyond."
Cr Mehrtens said there was a renewed push for better support and recognition for Woy Woy.
"There is a residential and business population crying out for more attention and more services to make the most of Woy Woy and ensure it can properly cope with being a principal town centre," he said.
"There are great things happening in Woy Woy, with new food and beverage options that are bringing visitors to the Coast and giving locals new places to try.
"Having met with these operators, they are seeking opportunities to show off what they have on offer, and since the Oyster Festival left its original home in Woy Woy some years ago and moved to Ettalong, there hasn't been a local food-focused event in Woy Woy to replace it."
Cr Mehrtens said that Woy Woy's assets were not being used to their full potential.
"We've got a brand new oval and grandstand that is under-utilised," he said.
"A kiosk that was built as part of the oval redevelopment has sat idle for three years as it requires too much investment even to bring it up to a level to use it as a small cafe.
"The only piece of green space in the town centre sits next to the oval redevelopment but is completely unused because of a lack of shading and public amenity to make it a nice place to be.
"Despite this being prime public space, we have just had Christmas and New Year pass without any community events on the Peninsula - despite a local population of more than 35,000, good transport and parking, and great public spaces to use.
"The Peninsula just doesn't have the events that it should do for the population.
"A festival like the Council-run Love Lanes Festival in Wyong would be perfect for Woy Woy.
"With transport and parking close by, and with established food vendors in the area, these are the opportunities that Council should be looking at bringing to Woy Woy."
Without a plan for the town centre, Cr Mehrtens said sprawl into residential suburbs would continue.
"With so much development happening uncontrolled and unplanned across the Peninsula, without a 'master plan' for Woy Woy, it means that we are losing the opportunity to better direct the development away from the residential suburbs and keep it close to the town centre," he said.
"More needs to be done to protect the character of our low-density suburbs, and ensure that our roads and infrastructure can keep up with the demand.
"Our roads and drainage on the Peninsula are already struggling under the current population, and we have seen two major water-main bursts in the last 12 months in Woy Woy.
"I worry about the strain that Council infrastructure will be under as populations continue to grow.
"More and more people are moving from Sydney, and we need to make sure that locals don't become a victim of all that makes the Peninsula a great place to live."
Despite these concerns, Cr Mehrtens said that the future of Woy Woy was bright.
"Woy Woy has everything going for it - good transport, a great environment, a growing food and drink scene - all that make it the envy of the rest of the Coast."
Media release, 10 Jan 2019
Richard Mehrtens, Central Coast Council