A NSW Government website

Former Empire Bay Marina

Due to safety concerns, Central Coast Council issued a demolition order for the removal of the boatshed and jetties at the former Empire Bay Marina. 

The demolition order relates to the aboveground structures for the boatshed and associated jetties only. 

The former Empire Bay Marina site is significantly contaminated, and engineering advice warned the building was unstable and at risk of collapse during site remediation works.

The boatshed was demolished in accordance with the demolition order.

 

Former Empire Bay.
Former Empire Bay Marina boatshed

 

The boatshed was removed to allow the safe removal of the underground fuel system and the remediation of soil contamination at the site to ensure it is safe for the community and the environment.

Our intention is to restore the site to usable public open space. 

Latest project update

Now that the boatshed and jetties have been removed, we are focusing on remediation of the site. 

A Development Application (DA) has been lodged with Central Coast Council to remove the concrete hardstand and slipway above the high tide mark, and remove the underground fuel tanks and surrounding contaminated soil.

The DA includes a Remedial Action Plan for this work which outlines specific remedial work activities, environmental management strategies and work, health and safety information. 

To read the DA documents, please visit the Central Coast Council website.

Please see Empire Bay Marina and Boatshed project update  – February 2024 (PDF, 168 KB) for more information.

Site remediation 

The remediation of the site is complex and requires additional contamination assessments before  the contamination can be addressed. Remediation of the site will occur over 2 stages. 

Stage 1a: Crown Lands has complied with council’s demolition order by removing the boatshed and jetties. The demolition order does not cover the removal of the underground fuel tanks and associated infrastructure.  

Stage 1b: A development application, supported by a Remedial Action Plan (RAP), has been lodged with Central Coast Council for the removal of the slipway, underground fuel tanks and associated equipment. 

Stage 2: After removal of the slipway and underground fuel tanks, additional contamination testing will be undertaken, including a Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment, to determine the full remediation requirements for the site. 

A RAP will be developed that outlines the way in which the site will be remediated. 

The RAP will include remedial work activities, environmental management strategies and work, health and safety information. Crown Lands will then lodge a second development application with council to undertake the remaining site remediation.

Voluntary Management Proposal approved

A Voluntary Management Proposal (VMP) for the site has been approved by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA).

The VMP outlines how site contamination will be managed.

The VMP was developed in consultation with the NSW EPA, an independent accredited auditor and environmental consultants. The VMP can be found below. Crown Lands is consulting with the NSW EPA on amendments to the VMP timeframes.

Background

In late 2020, Crown Lands revoked the Empire Bay Marina operator’s licence due to significant and ongoing breaches of the licence conditions, and the licence holder’s failure to rectify the issues despite repeated requests.

Building condition and structural engineer’s reports from 2020 (PDF, 15.9 MB) and 2022 (PDF, 8.8 MB) found the boatshed had major structural defects, was structurally unsound and unsafe, and did not comply with the Building Code of Australia. The jetties were in poor condition and unsafe, the underground fuel tanks had not been appropriately decommissioned, and lead-based paint was peeling off external walls.

Crown Lands commissioned a Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) (PDF, 17.3 MB) July 2021. The DSI found higher than acceptable levels of contamination at the former marina, from sources likely including fuel, oil, lead based paint, asbestos and antifouling chemicals.

In May 2022, The NSW EPA declared the site significantly contaminated under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997.

In July 2023, SafeWork NSW issued an Improvement Notice. The notice states that the underground fuel tanks and associated equipment must be removed by 31 March 2024. This includes all fuel lines and vents.

As the boat shed was listed as an item of local heritage significance in the Central Coast Local Environmental Plan 2022, Crown Lands commissioned Eureka Heritage to prepare a Statement of Heritage Impact (PDF, 12 KB).

The report found:

  • Historic local shipbuilding did not occur at the site.
  • There is a likely association between the boatshed and ferries making deliveries for the Davis and Settree Store from the 1920s, however no historical references substantiated this.
  • The boatshed is a foreshore landmark but its modified structure and additions, including its jetties, obscured its historical context and significance.
  • There was an opportunity to salvage  boatshed items of heritage value including double sliding doors and double timber doors from about 1925 and signage from about 1970.
  • Salvageable items are limited due to contamination, degradation and non-heritage materials that have been used in repairs or modifications. 

As well as contamination and structural issues, other constraints on the former marina include its location in a now established residential area with no legal vehicle access, parking or sewerage.

Alternative marina facilities are available in Brisbane Water at nearby locations including Koolewong, Booker Bay and Killcare.