Making Woolgoolga a destination is the key focus of the long-awaited Woolgoolga Town Centre Masterplan which has been adopted by Coffs Harbour City Council.
“Throughout the extensive consultations with the community over the future of the town, the overwhelming message has always been that the existing ‘green village’ characteristics of Woolgoolga be retained and enhanced with new features to improve its vitality at street level,” said Sharon Smith, Council’s Section Leader Local Planning.
“The bypassing of the township by the Pacific Highway and the opening of a new supermarket on the outskirts has changed the locality from a vehicle-centric thoroughfare to a destination. It is therefore essential that a new direction is established that strikes a balance between harnessing growth opportunities and nurturing Woolgoolga’s unique charm.”
Ms Smith said that discussions with the community had firmly placed parking as a top priority and one of the Masterplan’s key actions is to develop a People Movement and Transport Strategy that will consider all the concerns expressed on potential loss of parking or restricted parking highlighted by local residents.
“But to help make Woolgoolga a destination, we also need to enhance its potential for people to walk, cycle, shop locally and interact with the village as a human, rather than simply as a driver – and that is an equally important focus,” she added.
“The Masterplan highlights how a street that is more open to pedestrian traffic can operate in a relaxed, outdoor style that would make Woolgoolga a much safer, more comfortable and welcoming place for pedestrians.”
Work on the draft Masterplan began in 2013 when Council gave a review of the old Woolgoolga Town Centre Study 1996 the go-ahead.
Since that time, extensive consultation has been undertaken including a Community Vision Night, Business Confidence Survey, Online Ideas Map, Peer Review, Holiday Park Access Engagement, Traffic and Parking Workshops/Presentations and targeted stakeholder engagement.
The draft Masterplan was prepared by consultants Lat27 using the outcomes of the community engagement, plus input from consultants MRCagney who prepared a separate Traffic and Parking Study to help inform the Masterplan. Both documents were placed on public exhibition from May 17 2017 to June 16 2017. Consultations during this time also included a public presentation and an information booth plus a temporary ‘parklet’ – showing how a street that is more open to pedestrian traffic could operate. A total of 143 submissions were received.