Riverbank plan has Lorn residents concerned about pollution, privacy and safety

Lorn Action Group spokeswoman Sally O'Neal pictured on the Lorn side of the levee  with her dog Rex. Picture: Max Mason Hubers
Lorn Action Group spokeswoman Sally O'Neal pictured on the Lorn side of the levee with her dog Rex. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

Lorn residents want more consultation on plans that could place the Hunter River at the forefront of regional tourism and possibly impact their safety and privacy.

Last year Maitland City Council flagged plans for the Lorn riverbank to improve recreational access to the Hunter River and its banks from council-owned land.

The Lorn Riverbank Masterplan and Plan of Management includes an access road over the levee, exercise equipment, two amenities blocks, picnic tables, children’s play area, off leash dog area, paved pathway to the river, an open space area around a central plaza large enough to host community functions.

The 9.5 hectare Lorn site is visually prominent from the Riverwalk adjacent to The Levee and will be even more so with the completion of the Riverlink building.

The Lorn Action Group has held a meeting to discuss the proposal, most residents concerned about traffic movements and their privacy. Group spokesperson Sally O’Neal said there are a lot of residents who have not been kept in the loop. 

Ms O’Neal said council has letterbox dropped all of the Lorn properties that may be affected by the proposal which was on public exhibition late last year.

“In reality this is a proposal that affects the whole of Lorn because of its traffic implications,” Mr O’Neal said. “Sharkey’s Lane is already a racetrack and an accident waiting to happen.”

Residents key concerns are traffic, privacy, pollution, parking and keeping the integrity of the riverbank. “Submissions are now closed and it seems to be going nowhere.”

An objective in council’s +10 Community Strategic Plan was to improve recreational access to the river and its banks from council-owned land. As a result, council voted to prepare a plan of management and a masterplan for Lorn Riverbank.

Council has identified a number of objectives it wants to achieve at Lorn including:  Upgrading an access road over the levee, create a circulation system that accommodates vehicles, provide new parking areas and install vehicle control devices.

It also plans to provide public toilet facilities, install a retaining wall leveling off a lawn area for open play, provide a shared pathway network through the site that will link activity locations. There is also a proposal to create a central plaza, install picnic tables and exercise equipment and a children’s playground. The riverbank will be reshaped and stabilised with a paved access pathway to the water. Native trees and shrubs will also be planted.

A similar plan is also in place for the riverbank at Morpeth.

This story River plan tide turns first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.

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