At the May 2021 Kempsey Shire Council meeting, councillors unanimously moved a motion that will see council staff seek to further refine concept plans for the Crescent Head foreshore area.
The issue of removing carparking spots for greenspace along the foreshore has divided the community for the past year since the plans for the Crescent Head Public Domain Plan were placed on public exhibition.
Councillors moved a recommendation at the October 2020 council meeting that gave in principal support to Option A of the foreshore carpark design proposals, allowing for further design changes in the future.
However, a number of locals have voiced their concerns about removing parking along the foreshore. A protest was held last month where around 200 people gathered to protest against the foreshore and Holiday Park future design plans.
Maria Johnson spoke during the public forum on Monday afternoon and asked councillors to listen to community concerns.
"We would like council to address the loss of the foreshore carpark and the impact on the community, we would like a holistic plan for the area including the crown land and the carpark," she said.
"The Crescent Head foreshore is important to not only the people of this shire, but the thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the Crescent Head point.
"The community would like to work with council to formulate a more holistic plan. We have an opportunity to design the foreshore so that it meets the needs of everyone in our community."
Following a recommendation put forward by councillor Mark Baxter to seek further community engagement when the foreshore carpark area of the Crescent Head Public Domain plan is finalised, councillors moved to enter workshop to further discuss the recommendation and to workshop a more holistic plan for moving forward.
"We need more time to consult with the community about the best possible plan for the future," Cr Baxter said.
"We also need to think outside the box and possibly get a better outcome."
Councillor Sue McGinn agreed that the carpark area of the plan has raised issues in the community.
"There is an option to have a more detailed plan with new considerations in the future. We know that the carpark is a concern for the community and the plan can be changed," she said.
Councillor Bruce Morris said council and the community need to find a middle ground on the issue.
"There is so much division at the moment and we need to satisfy the community and give them a voice, they need to have a say," he said.
Councillor Anna Shields said there needs to be further engagement with the community to find a balance between greenspace and parking.
"There is already congestion in Crescent Head and taking away more carparks will make this worse. I don't think that Option A meets the needs of the community," she said.
All councillors worked together to workshop the final recommendation that notes during the October 2020 council meeting, the adoption of the Crescent Head Public Domain Plan included adopting in principal the foreshore carparking Option A as the preferred layout while also stating that council staff seek to further refine the concept plans including additional parking and a component of a foreshore parking area whilst maintaining the greenspace principals of the existing concepts within the Public Domain Plan.
The refined plans or plan will also be reported to a future council meeting.
Mayor Liz Campbell praised councillors for working together to come up with a recommendation they could all support.
"This is an example of how council should work together to reach an outcome on an important issue," she said.
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