MidCoast Council is calling on everyone with an interest in improving Forster’s Main Beach area to attend a drop-in consultation over the next couple of weeks and to have their say online over the next month.
On Friday, July 7 members of the community are invited to attend a Big Ideas BBQ at the Forster Ocean Baths (Bullring) where the council project team and consultant Kristy Ryan from The Design Partnership will be on hand between 11am-2pm to hear the public’s views and have a chat about this important part of Forster.
"Everyone's welcome and we are keen to hear from visitors and locals alike, as well as all age groups, which is why the Big Ideas BBQ is being held during school holidays," council property and commercial services manager, John Dougherty said.
Separately, specific consultations with special interest groups have also been scheduled, with meetings planned with the Forster business and Aboriginal communities on Wednesday, June 28, and Forster Surf Club on Thursday, July 6.
Council also plans to talkwith young people from Forster Tuncurry and people living with disabilities.
Members of the community who are are unable to attend a consultation, cab provide ideas and thoughts on the area via the online consultation on council's website: www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/forstermainbeach which will remain live until Monday, July 24.
"We've been very impressed with the amount of feedback and some excellent ideas posted on our Facebook page over the last couple of weeks and we'll certainly be including those comments as part of the community consultation,” Mr Dougherty said.
The proposed masterplan includes an area from the Bullring ocean baths to the Forster Surf Club and incorporates North Street and the surf club car park.
"We want to start a conversation about how we use this area, what's important to us, and maybe how we'd like to improve it.
“This will lead to a clear plan that can be used to attract funding towards the project.”
The beach precinct is one of Forster's most visited tourism sites and is equally important for local people too.
Sporting events are regularly held here including the club events of the Forster Mud Crabs and Forster Turtles.
Forster Surf Club is integral to the Main Beach area, providing lifesaving services and beach facilities for all users. Local cafes and restaurants are popular meeting places on the beachfront and attract large numbers of people to this popular spot.
Main Beach and its headlands are beautiful natural features of Forster's coastline and the area has strong cultural significance, with important Aboriginal and interesting post-European settlement sites.
Although Main Beach retains a certain charm (and sparks many treasured holiday memories for people from all over Australia and beyond), it is now looking a little dated and some facilities are struggling to meet modern needs.
In addition, the Surf Club premises and associated Council building has reached the end of its useful life, and needs to be replaced in order to meet the demands of today's users.
"The first step towards rejuvenating the Main Beach area is to develop a plan that meets community and visitor needs.
"With that in mind, we'd like to start by thinking big and hearing everyone's ideas for how we could improve the whole streetscape and provision of facilities which support the many uses of the area.
"We're also not forgetting that it's very important that we consider the connectivity and improve access between the Main Beach, nearby open space, adjoining business and shopping areas, and other key locations that make up the Forster central district.
"Once we know what our community would like to see at Main Beach, we will develop concept plans to present to the new incoming council later this year."
These plans will be an essential element for council to seek funding sources to realise the plan.