Oak Flats revival on council agenda

Peter Hoy owner of Feast on Central said he would like to see alfresco dining considered in the Oak Flats Town Centre Plan. Photo Georgia Matts

Peter Hoy owner of Feast on Central said he would like to see alfresco dining considered in the Oak Flats Town Centre Plan. Photo Georgia Matts

AT the most recent Shellharbour City Council meeting, councillors unanimously voted to start preparing town centre plans to improve the "functioning and appeal" of the Oak Flats business precinct.

The Lake Times asked residents and business owners, who told what they would like to see as part of the plan, which is part of the council's 2013/17 delivery program. Other town centres that received the revamp were Albion Park and Shellharbour Village.

Among the businesses approached, there was a consensus on the need to introduce a space for younger people to gather.

"A space for the youths to convene is really needed in Oak Flats precinct." Picture by Georgia Matts - Gina Schneider from Bloomz on Central

Bloomz on Central owner Gina Schneider said the current set-up of the precinct offered "nothing" for the youth in the area.

"Maybe a skate park or something else that will occupy them, take them off the main street and give them something to do," she said.

Business owners also agreed that the trees lining Central Avenue should be removed.

Madash Giftwear owner Toni Higgins said the trees grew so large they covered the business shopfronts.

Guidelines for the plan will consider conceptual block building envelope sketches, town appearance and character development, public domain treatment, transport, parking and maps for shop fronts and buildings.

"The trees lining the main street needed to go and more signage for people entering the town centre is really needed." Picture Georgia Matts  - Toni Higgins owner of Madash Giftware

Cafe owner Peter Hoy, from Feasts on Central, said it would be good to see alfresco dining introduced along the main street.

"A lot of the shops here are quite small and it would be great for us to extend the out outdoor area, similar to Shellharbour Village," he said.

"The town needs more seating and improved public toilet facilities." Picture Georgia Matts  - Emma Bishop, manager of Oak Flats barber

"Sometimes the main street can look dull but alfresco dining would make the atmosphere more vibrant and alive."

Other issues raised were the need for more seating, new public toilets, more parking, signage directing people into the town centre and clear signage for the parking at the rear of Central Avenue.

Councillor Helen Stewart was nominated to join the Project Control Group (PCG) who will oversee the town plans.

"Parking at the rear of Central Avenue needs better signage." Picture Georgia Matts - Pharmacist George Saad from Oak Flats Pharmacy.

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