Council fails the community on Nelson Bay High-rise

We are sad to report that Council has approved the 9-storey apartment building at 1 Yacaaba St, by a vote of 9 to 1, against the recommendation of its own planners, and ignoring the clear weight of opposition to high rise development in the town centre.  We are particularly disappointed in our three East Ward Councillors – Dunkley, Nell and Abbott, who all voted for a last minute motion, with less than half an hour’s notice, from Mayor Palmer to approve the controversial proposal. Our thanks go to Cllr Arnott who alone opposed approval but was denied even the opportunity to move the published recommended motion to refuse.

Unfortunately there is no merits appeal option and while we think there are strong grounds to question the process that has led to the approval, a judicial review appeal is beyond our means. We can see three possible scenarios now. The development may go ahead and successfully sell to permanent residents, in which case there may at least be some benefit to compensate for the sacrifice of the town’s character. More likely is eventual completion but with sales mainly to investors, and a majority of units unoccupied for most of the year – the same sacrifice but with little long term benefit. A third scenario is for the site to remain undeveloped, like the one at Church Street approved in 2017. The threat of further tower blocks which would obscure views could well ruin the commercial prospects and sterilise the revitalisation prospects of the town.

TRRA believes that Council has now missed the opportunity to set a clear vision for the town that respects its unique geography and character. We remain strongly of the view that sensible new height limits, such as the modest increases agreed back in 2012, together with all the other aspects of the Nelson Bay Strategy which have broad support, could have attracted investment to revitalise the town. Instead, Council has voted to allow a more than doubling of the height limits across large areas of the town centre. Given the uncertainty this will create, landowners will now be trapped by a toxic mix of fear and greed, likely to result in a continued moratorium on new development.

There will be one last opportunity to challenge Council’s flawed vision, when the proposed new height limits adopted in September 2018 are put on exhibition as changes to the Local Environmental Plan later this year.  But with 9 of our 10 elected representatives having made their position clear, a challenge is not likely to succeed.  We should perhaps look instead to the September 2020 Council election at which Councillors will be held to account for their decisions.

TRRA’s Committee is considering what further action the community could take, including strong representations to the Minister for Planning on the flawed process followed by Council over the last few years and the implications of their approvals of major height variations for the character of the town. It is clear that there is a major backlash against overdevelopment throughout NSW, and even the pro-development State government is having second thoughts about its support for high rise development in many areas.

This image (from the DA) demonstrates the visual impact, by reference to the existing buildings to north and south.

TRRA’s July Submission  Click Here

November Submission – Click Here

This image shows simulated impact on the skyline should 8/9/10 Story Buildings be approved across the Nelson Bay CBD. We are not suggesting that any of the four buildings shown are actual proposals – they are just a simple visual indication as to how high buildings could go under the proposed new height limit of 8 stories in parts of the CBD. The proposed variation policy could let them go even higher. Any ground level landscaping would be unlikely to impact the views of the waterfront or distant hills.
TRRA was criticised for producing this image and accused of being alarmist. In light of the DA above maybe this view should be revisited.

Sunday Telegraph article on Nelson Bay high-rise, and TRRA’s response.

DAs for seniors living project at former Colonial Ridge Resort in Fleet Street withdrawn.

State government agrees to buy back Mambo Wetlands for $420,000

Click Here for The Mambo Wetlands Land Sale Story

Special Rate Rejected

IPART rejects Port Stephens Council’s SRV proposal.

Council’s Submission for a Special Rate Variation  (SRV)of 7.5 % for 7 years was reviewed by IPART after the deadline for public submissions on 14 March.

TRRA’s submission to IPART on the SRV

The TRRA submission to IPART concludes as follows:

If the council succeeds with its application, it is at the higher end of the options normally granted by IPART.

TRRA  notes the current Council which is proposing the SRV has only 18 months to run before the next elections.  We do not recall any of the current Councillors expressly flagging an intention for an SRV during the election campaign in 2017.

TRRA suggests that a less ambitious project list and shorter period for rate rises would be much more saleable to the community and allow the necessary flexibility to respond to the changing social, business, technical and financial conditions.  There would be greater opportunity to assess the success of Council in delivering the programme and if proven, there would be an option of applying to IPART for an extension of the SRV.

TRRA’s Full submission to IPART – Click Here

For PDF version – Click Here

TRRA Inc. Submission on Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan Exhibition Documents, 28 March 2019

General Overview

The Public Exhibition period closed on 28 March and the documents are no longer on display. The President Geoff Washington (president@trra.com.au) has a hard copy of the documents if anyone wants access.

The following is an extract from the summary of TRRA’s submission to Council.

For the full summary – Click Here

TRRA is very pleased to note that the Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan Exhibition Draft recognises the need to protect the existing character of Nelson Bay Town Centre and embraces the key planning principles of the 2012 Strategy which was adopted by Council at that time.

Highly relevant statements in the introductory sections of the Exhibition Draft include:

  • Page 6 – The Vision characterises Nelson Bay as “a Town by the Bay”
  • Page 9 – ‘…natural bushland and hilly topography, which provides a dramatic backdrop to picturesque local views
  • Page 11 – Reference is made to “The Existing Scenic Value” and the importance of the view corridors to the Bay and towards the “forested hills of Tomaree National Park to the south.“
  • Page 13 – The opportunity to ‘enhance and enliven the existing local charm and place character’, including ‘enhancing the village character…’

TRRA Inc. cautions that the value of the proposed public domain works would be completely undermined by a reckless pursuit of high-rise developments in the town centre. 

TRRA supports Bobs Farm community in rejecting massive sand mine

A major new sand mine at Bobs Farm, on the site of the fig and olive farm, was first proposed in 2014 and provoked immediate opposition both from the local community and more widely. The proponents – Ammos Resource Management, have now lodged a development application which is on exhibition, with a mass of supporting documents, until 1 February 2019. Click Here for full document.

TRRA’s submission to the Council – Click Here

 Appendices – Click here

Key points of objection include:

Vegetation and Habitat loss: Clearance of over 100 acres of old growth forest on ancient sand dunes.

Disruption to Bobs Farm School: The proposed operations will see a loaded truck pass within metres of the school on average every three minutes.

Air quality: Additional particulate matter from diesel fumes and silica dust (a hazardous substance which can cause silicosis).

Road safety concerns: Up to 200 trucks per day (20 per hour) exiting into a 40km school zone, turning left onto Nelson Bay Road and “U” turning at the Port Stephens Drive roundabout.

Ground water: Will be affected due to dredging activity, this could threaten the quality and flow of the aquifer, particularly for those “downstream”.

Tank water:  Will potentially be contaminated.

Koala Habitat: The loss of preferred Koala Habitat

Ecological Corridor: The proposed artificial lake will remain permanently within an important ecological corridor limiting its function.

Ground water Contamination: There is a potential for ground water contamination from dredging of the site below the natural ground water level

Gateway to “the Bay”: This proposal is in an inappropriate location.  Visible to road users and adjacent to a residential area and school.

Community Vision for the Future of Tomaree Headland, Shoal Bay, Port Stephens – Click Here

TRRA Inc has been working with a consortium of community, business and environmental groups, “ Friends of Tomaree Headland”  to develop a prospectus for the future of this iconic site once its current use comes to an end in 2020. A copy of the prospectus and a covering Press Release Follow.

In reacting to the Friends’ prospectus, the member for Port Stephens Kate Washington and the Liberal candidate for Port Stephens Jaimie Abbott both announced on 4 February commitments to retain the site of Tomaree Lodge in public ownership and to consult with the community on its future use.

TRRA welcomes Council infrastructure works at Mambo Wetlands/Foreshore Drive – Click Here

New DA watch report added – Click here


Lagoons Estate –

Council loses case it was warned off.  Newcastle Herald article.- Click Here

History of matter:

2017 Click Here

For more use search field with this text – Lagoons Estate.

TRRA PRESIDENT’S ANNUAL REPORT 2017/18 – 15 October 2018

The Report presented by President, Geoff Washington, to the TRRA Annual General Meeting on 15 October, 2018 is available – Click Here.  The associated Powerpoint presentation, which includes  a report on planning proposals and issues considered by the Association, is – Click Here


AGM Minutes – Click Here



Hot TRRA  Issues for 2018/19

Latest Newsletters Click Here – Latest Press Releases Click Here

Community Vision for the Future of Tomaree Headland, Shoal Bay, Port Stephens – Click Here

Nelson Bay Strategy voted on at the 25 September Council meeting.

The Council decision on Tuesday night was to adopt the Nelson Bay ‘Delivery Program’ largely unchanged from the draft earlier this year except for a hastily cobbled together last minute ‘compromise’ on building heights.  TRRA thinks 8 storeys in most of the town centre (and 12 up at the Bowling Club) is still too high and ignores the more than 2300+ individual objections to high-rise.

Council’s revised version of the Nelson Bay Delivery Program  (see pages 25-27 for  building heights ,FSR changes) – Click Here

TRRA’s Newsletter – Click Here

TRRA’s Press Release – Click Here


Simulated impact on the skyline should 10 Story Buildings be approved across the Nelson Bay CBD. We are not suggesting that any of the four buildings shown are actual proposals – they are just a simple visual indication as to how high buildings could go under the proposed new height limit – the proposed variation policy could let them go even higher. Any ground level landscaping would be unlikely to impact the views of the waterfront or distant hills. TRRA was criticised for producing this image and accused of being alarmist. In light of the DA above maybe this view should be revisited.

Port Stephens Council prepares ‘Exemption to Development Standards’ policy to govern clause 4.6 applications.

“It more or less invites developers to apply for major variations such as the more than doubling of the height limit for the Church Street apartment tower in Nelson Bay, which council approved in 2017,”  – TRRA planning committee convenor Nigel Waters.

TRRA’s submissions to Port Stephens Council relating to:

‘Progressing the Nelson Bay Town Centre & Foreshore Strategy: A revised Implementation and Delivery Program 2017Click Here

‘Draft policy on Exceptions to Development Standards (file no PSC2007-1204V3)’: Click Here



Council’s latest Draft placed on Exhibition on 21 February “Progressing the Nelson Bay Town Centre and Foreshore Strategy” still includes a proposal to more than double building heights across Nelson Bay Town Centre based on the argument that this is essential for developers to achieve viability and to attract permanent residents to bolster retail businesses.

TRRA believes that the height issue is critical to the future of Nelson Bay.

For more information Click Here


Port Stephens Examiner article – 11 April 2018 – Click Here

Click Here for How High? – High Rise In Nelson Bay Page!  
See more of Save Nelson Bay from High Rise on Facebook
TRRA critique of Nelson Bay Strategy “Draft Delivery Program” December 2017. 

All in all, TRRA contends that the document is not fit for exhibition purpose and cannot form the basis of further consultation on the Nelson Bay Strategy without major changes:   Click Here

Draft Nelson Bay and Foreshore Strategy Delivery Program, December 2017 Click Here

Foreshore Strategy April 2012 – Compare Building Heights P60-P65 Click Here

Upwards not Forwards – History of Building Height increase proposals Click Here

Affected Areas  2017 – Click Here    2012 – Click here

Have your say on Building Heights – Click Here

Attention Nelson Bay Community!

This crane is 35 meters high, this is the 10 Storey height limit for high rise buildings (with open ended provision for even higher exceptions) that your Council is proposing for the whole Nelson Bay CBD! 


Lot 424 Halifax Holiday Park.- Councillors’ site inspection took place on 27 August at 4:30 pm.

Those present – Cr john Nell, Cr Sarah Smith, Carmel Foster, Group Manager Corporate Services and another Council Officer. Apologises had been received from the Mayor who is familiar with the site.

John Nell, East ward councillor, addressed the assembled group of about 50 people, all of whom are concerned that the holiday park will be extended into what is currently being used as a public park. He explained that the area is crown land and in the past was designated by the state government as part of the holiday park (2013?). A Carmel Foster also explained there will be a public consultation process in Sept/Oct on the issue of whether or not the council should agree to let the park management expand the holiday park into this area.

It was suggested that representations to both the local councillors and Kate Washington may help sway the decision.

History of previous action over this issue. Click Here

As an aside, Councillor Nell conformed he would not be standing for election next time round.

Images of a Koala in a threatened tree between the apartments and the caravan park.



Koala Sanctuary (eco-tourist facility) at Treescape Holiday Park

DA 16-2018-534-1     Advertising 23/08/2018 to 06/09/2018

Notes on DA –  Click Here

Sports Complex Master Plan

 Port Stephens Council’s vision is that  the precinct would be Port Stephens’ largest sporting complex with a diverse range of active sporting uses and is home to a number of sporting clubs. The park is not only enjoyed by sports players but residents, school children, active fitness groups and recreational walkers. The purpose of the Master Plan is to provide a clear vision and guide future sporting facility and public domain improvements

Please click here to read the Master Plan, or download from the document library

Full size version (33.3mb) https://haveyoursay.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/35296/documents/75766

Low resolution (1.45 mb) https://haveyoursay.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/35296/documents/76293

For TRRA’s submission to PSC click here


109 Foreshore Drive Sale Update. On Hold

Port Stephens Examiner Article – Click Here

The Bay  – Anna Bay – Newcastle Herald Story

Click Here


Background information – Click Here

TRRA Submission – Draft Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan – Click Here



 ‘A Port Stephens Community Voice’

Tomaree Ratepayers And Residents Association is an Incorporated Community Group based in Nelson Bay, Port Stephens on the Tomaree Peninsula, NSW, Australia.  More Info Click Here. 

The design of this site has enabled the TRRA Inc. Management Committee to keep our membership and other interested parties up to date on current issues by posting our Reports, Submissions and Developments directly onto the site. Our mission is to appreciate and defend this lifestyle and environment for ourselves and our children. 

TRRA Meetings:

The Last TRRA  Annual General meeting held 7:00 pm, TMonday 15th October 2018 Nelson Bay Bowling Club. AGM Minutes – Click Here


All TRRA General Meeting dates for 2019   Click Here


Click Here for The TRRA Council Election Page !
New Look Council, but old culture survives…….

Posted 03 Oct 2017

The new Mayor and Councillors have made a disappointing start, at their first meeting

 All TRRA Newsletters are available Click Here

Latest below:

Click Here for 15th March, 2019 Newsletter

Click Here for 8th March, 2019 Newsletter

Click Here for 2nd October Member Communication

Incredibly, the core proposals had not changed from those exhibited in February 2018, despite around at least 95% of the more than 2600 public responses objecting to the doubling of building heights to 10 storeys across most of the town.

Click here for January 30th Newsletter

This promises to be a year of great challenge to Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc. First up, we will need your full support to object to Council lifting the lid on building heights in our town centre – A Battle we Must Win. 

 All TRRA Press Releases Are Available Click Here

Latest Below:


Press release on AGM 2018Posted 17th October 2018

Council decides on Nelson Bay Strategy – Posted 27th September 2018

Special Rate Variation Proposal – Posted 31 July 2018

Council ‘surrender’ on variations – Posted 09 Apr 2018

Hopeful signs of a solution to the contentious issue of building heights in Nelson Bay emerged at a packed public forum last Tuesday night (6 March).- Posted 09 Mar 2018

The threats to the ambience of the Double Bay village raised in the Sydney Morning Herald on 27 January, are also playing out in one of the State’s iconic coastal towns, Nelson Bay on Port Stephens   – Posted 02 Feb 2018

Battle lines drawn – the height war the Nelson Bay community must win. – Posted 08 Dec 2017


Planning Issues:

Port Stephens Council prepares ‘Exemption to Development Standards’ policy to govern clause 4.6 applications.

Port Stephens Examiner 11 April 2018 – Click Here

 Long term planning vision and environmental provision is what’s needed in Port Stephens | TRRA OPINION

Posted 15 Aug 2017

Nigel Waters is on the planning assessment sub-committee of the Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents Association. 

** Opinion – State’s neglect of peninsular getting old**

Posted 30 July 2017

This is a Must Read!  Phillip O’Neill is professor of economic geography at Western Sydney University.


Posted 12 September 2018

Council loses case it was warned off – Lagoons Estate                     __________________________________________________________________

Whats The PlanDA Watch September 2016

Updates Include: Shoal Bay: Height Limits; Catalina Motel , Nelson Bay: Car Parks re-development, Corlette: New shops and services at Salamander Centre, Port Stephens: Pathways Plan.

TRRA is proud to be associated with this initiative. More Information HERE  This meeting was a great success with over 500 people attending: – News of The Area 11 May 2017:  Mental Illness Forum draws much community support   –   Lifting the lid on Mental Illness

**We have split the home page to make it load quicker: GO TO HOME PAGE TWO**
  Our New Format Website for 2018, How it works………..!

Website Map – Index, Everything is now Indexed Find it Quick!

Click the link above to see how it works. Heaps more archived posts in the TRRA Back Burner File, click on the Logo below to go there ………


We have archived some of our older maternal to another page so that things won’t look so cluttered and will load quicker  Click Here

This bottom at the top of the right sidebar allows you to subscribe to the TRRA website and be notified of new posts by email.  This saves you the trouble of checking the site regularly and ensures that you won’t miss anything!


Find Reports etc. in ‘HOT ISSUES NOW!’ and ‘CURRENT ISSUES’ in the box on the right.Latest Updates are in ‘Recent Posts’ and Comments are in ‘Have Your Say At TRRA’  lower right. Posting your Feedback as Comments’ on the site is available in: ‘Have Your Say’ :HEREHouse Rules are: HERE

Membership fees ($10.00 P/A) are due on 1st July each year. You can now Join / Renew your Membership or Donate Online HERE. Membership also puts you on our mailing list, Meetings are held regularly HERE  

Comments are closed.