Work on the final phase of a $3 million project to enhance Public Beach and create a ‘vendor village’ for licensed traders begins next month.
The project, a partnership between developer Dart Real Estate and the government, was part of the National Roads Authority agreement that led to the construction of the Kimpton Seafire resort and construction of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension.
Dart has surrendered its leasehold interest in the parcels of land east of the beach to the government and is working on new facilities at the site, under the guidance of the Public Lands Commission.
The development aims to improve the recreational areas at the beach and provide order and supervision to the sometimes chaotic commercial activity in the area.
Improvements to the soccer and volleyball courts, including the addition of spectator areas, and new toilet facilities with disabled access are also part of the plan.
The structures are expected to be complete at the end of the month, at which time the final phase of the development will commence, with a completion target of the end of September. The final phase includes upgrades to the existing parking areas, with the addition of designated food vendor parking spots.
An increase in commercial activity at the beach, including deck chair and water sports rentals, has been a concern for visitors and residents for some time. The development of 16 stalls for vendors is part of a wider plan by government to move the traders off the beach itself.
Public Lands Commission Chief Inspector Winsome Prendergast said the new vendor area will allow the regulatory body to better manage commercial activity on Public Beach.
“The redevelopment of the Seven Mile Beach Park will better facilitate public use of the beach for recreational purposes as intended,” she said.
“All approved vendors will, where practical, be relocated and restricted to the purpose-built Vendor Village designated area or the car park, to the benefit of beachgoers.”
With the completion of the third phase, private vehicles will no longer be able to drive directly on to the beach.
While work takes place in the parking areas, temporary parking will be made available on the empty lot to the east of the existing parking lot.