Public consultation on the draft Tomaree Coastal Walk Master Plan and draft Review of Environmental Factors (environmental assessment) provided an important opportunity for the community to have a say on the proposed visitor experience improvements for Tomaree National Park at Port Stephens.
The draft master plan and draft Review of Environmental Factors (environmental assessment) were exhibited together to provide people with a clearer understanding of the Tomaree Coastal Walk project and the information necessary to enable stakeholder feedback.
What was being proposed?
The draft Tomaree Coastal Walk Master Plan provided a framework and conceptual designs for the delivery of the 20-kilometre Tomaree Coastal Walk connecting Tomaree Head to Birubi Point at Port Stephens, and future visitor facility improvements in Tomaree National Park at Port Stephens.
Turf Design contractors prepared the draft master plan in collaboration with National Parks and Wildlife Service, informed by extensive geotechnical, engineering, environmental and cultural assessments, and community feedback received on the plan of management amendment and draft Tomaree Coastal Walk Strategy. The draft master plan supersedes the draft Tomaree Coastal Walk Strategy.
The plan balances conserving Tomaree National Park's natural and cultural values with future visitation demands, by creating experiences to better manage visitation in the park throughout the year.
The Tomaree Coastal Walk will cater for a range of immersive, nature-based visitor experiences from short walks to half-day and overnight options rich in Worimi culture, historic heritage and natural wonders, providing opportunities for tourism partnerships.
The plan provides:
- An overview and conceptual designs for the $6.7 million Tomaree Coastal Walk project with maps of the indicative 20-kilometre walking track route connecting Tomaree Head to Birubi Point.
- Proposals for supporting initiatives and facility upgrades to enhance the experience, improve visitor management and meet future visitation demands. This includes proposed upgrades, concept designs and artist impressions for:
- Tomaree Head Precinct
- Box Beach Precinct
- Big Rocky Precinct
- Iris Moore Precinct.
Improvements may include new and upgraded walking tracks, viewing platforms, parking, interpretation, amenities and other visitor facilities.
The priority for delivery is the 20-kilometre Tomaree Coastal Walk connecting Tomaree Head to Birubi Point with associated facilities. Further detailed costing, feasibility, assessments and evaluations will determine what will be constructed as part of the $6.74 million Tomaree Coastal Walk funding.
While not all improvements proposed in the draft master plan can be delivered as part of the Tomaree Coastal Walk project funding, the draft plan provides long-term visitor facility planning for the park, should further funding become available. Delivery of the supporting precinct upgrades proposed in the draft master plan is subject to future funding.
When will the draft plans be finalised and implemented?
The draft master plan and draft Review of Environmental Factors were available for public comment and will be finalised once community and stakeholder feedback has been considered.
The draft plans may be adjusted to meet issues raised during the exhibition, environmental and cultural assessment outcomes and local design issues, and still must meet the requirements of the Tomaree Plan of Management and amendment.
A Submission snapshot summary will be provided to advise the public of the outcomes of the consultation on the draft master plan and Review of Environmental Factors.
Next stages of the project
A detailed design and assessment for the construction of the $6.7 million Tomaree Coastal Walk connecting Tomaree Head with Birubi Point is next stage of the project. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service will deliver the project in stages with construction expected to be completed in 2022.
Construction will be subject to rigorous environmental and heritage approvals before commencing. This includes consideration under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, the NSW Heritage Act 1977 and the Commonwealth Environmental Planning and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The final master plan and delivery will be consistent with the amended Tomaree National Park Plan of Management.
We will continue to update you on the project's progress. Anyone who has not yet registered to receive project updates can do so on the project webpage at Tomaree Coastal Walk.
What is a master plan
A master plan is a non-statutory document that outlines a vision to guide how an area may change over time. It is important to note that our draft master plan is conceptual. The National Parks and Wildlife Service is seeking community input to refine our vision in advance of the detailed design and final approval stages.
What is a Review of Environmental Factors?
A Review of Environmental Factors is an environmental assessment under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. It examines the significance of likely environmental impacts of the proposal and the measures required to mitigate adverse impacts. Review of Environmental Factors assist the determining authority to decide whether an activity should be approved and assists in the development of appropriate conditions should approval be given.
The Review of Environmental Factors for the Tomaree Coastal Walk has been prepared by independent contractors in collaboration with National Parks and Wildlife Service and stakeholders.