Gordon Park major infrastructure upgrade works begin

The new toilet block is being plumbed and will be ready in two weeks, say the men on site.
The new toilet block is being plumbed and will be ready in two weeks, say the men on site.

Before you ask what I know you’re all thinking—no, there’s no news regarding those beloved winged Gordon Park squatters.

But there are a number of changes starting to take place in the park.

A new toilet block is currently being constructed beside the tennis courts, replacing the gloomy, asbestos-ridden and oft-vandalised old amenities.

Site analysis of Gordon Park which identifies weaknesses in public utility

Site analysis of Gordon Park which identifies weaknesses in public utility

“It’s going to last forever, this one— its as strong as a bomb shelter with a concrete roof and huge steel girders,” the plumber on site said.

“The only thing is it might get graffitied a bit, but it’ll be easy to paint over it.” 

The construction of the new (and subsequent demolition of the old) toilets is expected to be finished within the next couple of weeks.

But there are a whole raft of other cosmetic and functional improvements scheduled for the well-used park which have been jointly funded by council and the state government through its ‘Boating Now’ program.

Council has committed approximately $350,000 to implementing the project and the NSW state government have also committed $336,500. 

Council’s coordinator of strategic planning and natural resources Grant Nelson said renovation plans include demarcating trailer parking, extending the foreshore promenade, upgrading the boat ramp, installing underground power, and improving the pedestrian links which should all be finished just after Easter next year.

“It’s all part of a masterplan we’re going through to revitalise the area and upgrade public amenities,” Mr Nelson said.

Members of the Nambucca Heads Offshore Fishing Club (NHOFC) are thrilled at the improvements to fishing infrastructure that have already been tabled.

I think it’s just terrific for the area. Like the old saying goes—if you build it, they will come,” NHOFC secretary Rhett Smyth said.

Rhett Smyth, NHOFC secretary

“When the highway does eventually bypass us, we’re going to need something to attract tourists.

“And a large chunk of tourism on the Mid North Coast is recreational fishers. They spend around $5 billion around NSW each year.

“I’d like to congratulate council for being so willing to go for these grants. I think [grants officer] Therese Boorer has been just fantastic.

“And the fishers are happy because they can see their licence money at work.”

The only concern Mr Smyth had was the rising sand levels in the estuary as it approaches the V-Wall.

“I’m not the only one that struggles to launch a boat there, especially at low tide—its just impossible,” Mr Smyth said.

“I think that the area really should be dredged if they’re spending the money to upgrade the boat ramp and jetty there.”

Mr Nelson said Council had looked into dredging the area, but the huge costs involved and the probability of the sand quickly returning after a major storm event had prevented them from taking any action.

“If the right funding opportunities came up, we would consider it though,” Mr Nelson said.

Funding and time constraints have worked against other parts of the project from being delivered too.

Council has drawn up a draft vegetation plan in order to combat some of the destruction of the Gordon Park rainforest, but maintenance of the rainforest walkways and installation of educational signage for the flying fox colony has been sidelined until other projects given a higher priority are completed.

Masterplan for the upgrade: Some parts of the plan have been modified through the design process – for example the roundabout at the boat ramp was not considered appropriate by local fishing groups and will not be included and there will slight changes to the trailer parking areas

Masterplan for the upgrade: Some parts of the plan have been modified through the design process – for example the roundabout at the boat ramp was not considered appropriate by local fishing groups and will not be included and there will slight changes to the trailer parking areas

Another part of the project which has been put on hiatus until funding is found is the renovation of the children’s playground which will employ natural materials and be moved slightly from its current location to roughly where the old amenities block is now resting.

“Although council has targeted a number of other grants to fully implement parts of the plan such as the children’s playground we have not been successful,” Mr Nelson said. 

“Therefore we are aiming to achieve as much of the core infrastructure (pathway improvements, lighting etc.) as achievable with the budget and will seek future funding to support other features of the plan.”