It’s been a long time coming, thirty years in fact, but the Gosford CBD is coming to life.
Three of the oldest buildings in the CBD are now rubble and soon the crane will go up on John Singleton’s Bonython Tower site smack in the centre of town.
One thing about Singleton is that he has always had an unshakable faith in Gosford, more so than most local businessmen and certainly those past Gosford Councillors who kept their foot on the town’s throat.
It certainly started to change though with the last Gosford Council who encouraged a lot of investors to look seriously at the place, not the least being Paul Lederer, owner of the Imperial Shopping Centre.
After spending $20 million refurbishing the Imperial Centre a couple of years ago Lederer acquired the old Kibbleplex building and came up with a masterplan for a $650 million development overlooking Kibble Park. Unfortunately those plans have been frustrated by the new Central Coast Council at this stage.
Meanwhile, encouraged by this activity is publican Peter Harris owner of the Hotel Gosford. His family is investing $5 million in a total refurbishment of the hotel, excluding the original heritage listed building (see story page 8).
Harris said that this investment has been on his mind for the past seven years and now is the time.
Around the edges of Gosford another person with faith in the town is Tony Denny who has also seen the opportunities presented by this place right on the water and an hour from Sydney.
It is this private investment that is essential to the future of Gosford and the people taking the lead and the risk will reap the rewards.
Of course government investment will have a big impact not the least from the new Gosford Hospital and Medical Research Institute supported by the University of Newcastle.
The next step is to get commercial business to relocate from the City but for that we will need some new 5-star office accommodation. The first two levels at Bonython Tower will be providing exactly that.
Then we need to find some larger organisations like accountants, lawyers and banks to relocate their back office operations.
This month we welcome McConaghy Boats, one of the world’s leading sailing boat builders to the Central Coast.
McConaghy have relocated from the Northern Beaches.
The Central Coast has a strong history of boat building and much of that experience still resides in the region.
They join Palm Beach Motor Yachts and Lewis Ski Boats at Berkeley Vale.
We hear that McConaghy’s move to the Coast has resulted in another company that does work for them moving here. We will report on that next month.
Finally, the State Budget was brought down last month.
It was a budget for Western Sydney. Billions being spent there by a very Sydneycentric government.
We could be highly critical but perhaps its more our fault. We are still living with our past when we there was a war between Gosford and Wyong councils and no one was interested in the region as a whole.
This has created a massive infrastructure deficit.
The roadworks you have seen over the past five years and are still ongoing around the whole Coast, were put in place by David Harris, Member for Wyong when he was in government seven or so years ago.
It’s called planning and there was never any under the two council model.
In late June this Editor attended an Infrastructure Planning meeting called by the Central Coast Council to discuss Key Infrastructure Projects for the whole region.
It was enlightening to see a cross section of people happily working together for the good of the whole region.
Once refined Council will have a Regional Infrastructure Plan they can confidently take to government.
Then we can expect them to listen and take note!
Finally, checkout my early reading of the 2016 Census figures for the region that came out in late June. (Page 8).