23rd January 2019
Federal Member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie has turned the first sod on the Forster Civic precinct project, as work begins on the Stage One construction of community facilities.
On Wednesday 23 January, Dr Gillespie and MidCoast Council Mayor, David West marked the beginning of the project at the site, together with Coyne Graham and Mal Kukas (representing the developer and builder), and members of the Friends of the Great Lakes Library Service (FOGLLS).
“The Federal Government investment of $6 million in this project will deliver significant social and economic benefits for our community, with a much needed community meeting space in Forster-Tuncurry and facilities including a brand new Library and Visitor Centre,” Dr Gillespie said.
“The Civic Precinct, which incorporates a number of projects, will include public facilities, retirement living and apartments, delivering more than 200 jobs throughout the construction phase and a further 200 on-going jobs. It’s another important economic project that I’m delighted the Federal Government is participating in here in Forster.”
Mayor David West thanked Dr Gillespie and said “The Friends of the Library have been very involved with the development of this Project from its inception and we’re all excited at the prospect of gaining a Library space that will meet the needs of the community in Forster”.
“We’re also looking forward to a new Visitor Information Centre, that will showcase the region to our visitors. Tourism underpins our local economy and it’s vital that we support this industry and remain competitive as a NSW destination.”
The Project had its beginnings in 2007, when the Forster School of Arts Hall was rendered unsafe, leaving the community without valuable meeting space. At around the same time, Forster Library was identified as being inadequate in size to cater for community demand for its services.
The site, located on the corner of Lake, West and Middle Streets, was acquired with the intent of utilising part of the land for the Council facilities and exploring commercial opportunities for the development of the rest of the land. This strategic purchase allowed the development of community facilities with improved car parking options.
In 2015, Council resolved to investigate the possibility of entering into a commercial arrangement with a developer to allow a mix of private and public use of this valuable site close to Forster’s CBD.
After seeking expressions of interest from the market for the project, Council entered into an agreement with Enyoc, who will provide Council with $6 million in-kind. Ratepayers will benefit from an $18 million facility for a $6 million Council investment, thanks to the Federal grant funding of $6 million and the commercial agreement.
It’s expected that the community facilities will be complete and open to the public by September 2020.
For more information on the project, visit www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/civicprecinct