Proposed Mobile phone Base Station

9 Church St, Nelson Bay – submissions due by 18 November to:

This image provided by Optus shows the proposed ‘shroud’ or box enclosing the mobile phone equipment to be built on top of the lift shaft of the existing apartment building at 9 Church St.

Mobile phone infrastructure is governed by federal Telecommunications laws and is effectively exempt from State Planning law. Optus (who will be sharing this facility with Vodafone) do not need approval – they only have to advertise the proposal (Examiner 31 October p39), publish information including a consultation plan ( and accept comments (by 18 November[i] to and publish a report on submissions. They don’t have to take any notice of objections but say they are willing to consider suggestions.

TRRA only found out about the proposal from the Examiner notice, and attended the information session on 4 November.  There are three issues:

  • the need for a new base station
  • the location
  • the design

Need: We have no basis to challenge their assertion that a new facility is required to fill significant gaps in coverage in the town centre.

Location: The consultation plan details the other locations they considered – inc. 2 sites at Golf Club and 1 at Landmark – all rejected for combination of less ideal technically and/or couldn’t reach terms with owners.  We will be suggesting they investigate other alternatives including the Council reserve at the corner of Church and Stockton Sts.

Design: The visual intrusion of a 5 metre ‘box’ on top of the apartment building at 9 Church St (see image above) is a major issue. The image demonstrates intrusion on the wooded backdrop to the Nelson Bay CBD, as seen from the Church St/Government Rd junction. Views may differ on whether boxing it in looks worse than ‘naked’ masts and cells.

The proposed structure would reach 23.6 metres above ground level – 5m above the top of the lift shaft, which at 18.6m already exceeds the current height limit for the site of 15m by 24%. Council’s proposed new height limit is 28m, and it has already approved a 32m 8 storey apartment building at 11-13 Church St (the site of the crane in the image).

Have your say – to by 18 November.

The website and letter say 11 November but Optus have confirmed the Examiner notice deadline of 18 November for comments.

Resort at 58 Gan-Gan Rd, Anna Bay

There is a current DA for a 247 unit resort at 58 Gan-Gan Rd, Anna Bay, next to the currently derelict ‘Birubi Beach Resort’ site. Council has only advertised the DA for the minimum required exhibition period and submissions are due by 7 November 2019.  A meeting at the site was arranged by the South Tomaree Community Association for 10am Friday 1 November which was attended by State MP Kate Washington.

Full Details here

TRRA’s objection document – Click Here

Fingal Link Road – let us know what you think.

The State Government has committed $188 million to the construction of a Fingal Link Road, and the RMS is currently in the planning stage before consulting publicly.  TRRA thinks it is important for the community to consider both the rationale for such a road and the pros and cons of alternative routes.  We invite comment on our discussion paper Click Here.  We will collate feedback and provide it to the RMS and Council as input to their planning process.

‘Have Your Say’ :HERE


1 Yacaaba Street site up for sale.

For details – Click Here

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

More – Click Here


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 PRESIDENT’S ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 – 14 October 2019

The Report presented by President, Geoff Washington, to the TRRA Annual General Meeting on 15 October, 2018 is available – Click Here.  Ths includes a Planning Committe report for 2018/19.

AGM Minutes  Click Here

All TRRA General Meeting dates for 2019   Click Here


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