Growing up in Quirindi meant that trips to the coast were a great adventure - particularly when my father decided to hitch up the family caravan and cross the range to Port Macquarie.
If we were very lucky, he'd find a site at the caravan park in the centre of town. That meant being close to the now long-gone King Neptune's Park and Fantasy Glades.
At the centre of our holiday activities was Port Macquarie's southern breakwall. It was our view, where we played and where Dad fished (usually without success) for flathead.
So, when Port News reporter Lisa Tisdell wrote about calls for the painters of the breakwall's famous rocks to record videos of them before they were submerged, I found myself hit by a wave of nostalgia. And so, it seems, did most of Port Macquarie.
Concern over Transport for NSW Maritime's planned upgrade grew when Sport Reporter Paul Jobber shared Damian (Kingy) King's fear for the world-class Town Beach wave. The story was shared in Facebook groups and picked-up by local radio and TV news teams.
On Tuesday, to coincide with the last drop-in community consultation session, around 100 people gathered at Town Beach Park to vent other concerns besides the loss of the wave and the graffiti rocks. There is anger over the potential removal of Norfolk Pines, the loss of fishing spots, the lighting, accessibility issues and more.
Having so many stakeholders in the mix will be a challenge for those signing off on the final design. But consultation is critical, and it is still underway.
The community has a chance to find common ground by working together on well-researched and well-argued solutions. But time is critical.
You have until July 1 to provide feedback on the upgrade's design by filling out the online survey on the state government's have your say page or by contacting the project team via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The breakwall took 40 years to build back in the 1890s, but its planned upgrade next year is expected to take six months.
Editor, Port News
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