EXCLUSIVE

V-Wall still in 'beta phase' but visitors are loving it

There's a reason council's engineering staff always say 'weather depending' before estimating the completion date of a project.

And December was a big, fat 'Exhibit A'.

All were hoping the V-Wall and Gordon Park upgrades would be completed before Christmas, but Mother Nature had other plans, with two full weeks of solid drenching in the lead-up to the holidays putting a definitive stop work order in place.

Still, so determined were council staff to get the job done that many were working in the brief dry periods right up until Christmas Eve.

The V-Wall's still not 100 per cent done. More marine-hardy couch grass needs to be laid, ambient lighting and drainage need tweaking, and a disability access footpath needs to be installed to a new wheelchair-friendly table and bench.

Two Tamworth locals soaking up the sun from the newly laid lawns

Two Tamworth locals soaking up the sun from the newly laid lawns

There might also be need for a tongue-in-cheek sign explaining not to feed the pelican after a pilchard was discovered down the gullet of the Nambucca High students' metal sculpture.

"It's in its beta phase right now," Council's Manager Infrastructure Services Matt Leibrandt said.

We tried to deliver but there was a lot to do in a short amount of time. We thought it would be better to have something rather than nothing for Christmas.

He estimates there's another fortnight's worth of finishing touches at the V-Wall before the project can be ticked off.

"They'll have a big impact, but there's not a lot of work. And there'll only be minor disruptions to people using the area," he said.

He said work will start again at the end of January when kids go back to school, but made sure to include that obligatory caveat - "weather depending".

It's been a baptism of fire for new Development and Project Engineer Kieren Ward who took on the V-Wall, cycleway, and Macksville pool projects in October.

But the public has been overwhelmingly positive in its feedback, heaping praise on the council for making the area more attractive and accessible for holidaying families.

Matt said the only negativity they'd received so far was from someone critical that the upgrades were giving Nambucca some Gold Coast vibes.

But he explained that council had put in a lot of effort to design something that was "not like other places - that was very Nambucca".

The plan riffed on council Design Advisor and Building Surveyor Gavin Chow's idea to make use of 'V' angles, referencing the local place name. And if you look closely at the angles of the paths and the garden beds you can see the resolution of that concept.

Cycling past an inverted 'V'.

Cycling past an inverted 'V'.

There are also other local flourishes in the design, including engravings of Gumbaynggirr words and their English equivalents.

Word on the street

Mike is currently up visiting from Canberra and was appreciative of the artistic touches added to the precinct since his last visit.

"They've finally got it looking nice," he said.

"It's excellent, excellent work. And the whole stretch of bike path to Macksville will be done soon so you can ride the whole way from here which will be great."

Debbie and Mike from Canberra (outer edges), and Scotts Head locals Ash and Tara (in the middle)

Debbie and Mike from Canberra (outer edges), and Scotts Head locals Ash and Tara (in the middle)

Michelle and Mike Whary from Camden are up visiting relatives and were surprised by the pace of progress since they were last here in October.

"It was already such a good spot. But adding this stuff turns it into more of an attraction," Mike said.

It's great that the locals are willing to share their little gem.

"Last time we were here our kids took boats out on the (White Albatross) lake, but there was nowhere for us to sit and watch them. Now we can sit here at the tables and relax while we watch them play," Michelle said.

The Whary family

The Whary family

Daina Lackey and her family are here holidaying with the Williams family from Lake Macquarie.

While the men were out catching some waves, the kids were testing out their scooters on the V-Wall paths.

"They're nice and wide - perfect for scooters. It's really family-friendly," she said.

Both families are keen for some surfing, fishing, a trip to the Big Banana and to try out the local restaurants.

Daniel, Joshua and Evie

Daniel, Joshua and Evie

Local Daniel Garland was showing first-time visitor Joshua Beattie around his home.

He said the upgrades at the V-Wall have opened the place up and made it easier for people to enjoy the view.

And Josh was full of compliments.

"It's very beautiful here, and there are very nice people, and good food too. It's just a great place to come for a couple of days if you're travelling past," he said.

Jenny and Dale

Jenny and Dale

Dale and Jenny are residents at the White Albatross and were enjoying some chips under the new shelters, while fending off a persistent bin chicken.

"We think it's wonderful that they're doing it up," Jenny said.

"It really draws attention to the place," Dale said.

The only piece of criticism Guardian News heard from those enjoying the V-Wall today was that the improved amenities might make the area a little too popular, adding to traffic congestion and parking woes.

But the new parking spaces for longer vehicles were noted and appreciated.

Council has also just completed an area for parking overflow adjacent to the brown brick toilets.

Also in the news