Hervey Bay Esplanade at Scarness.
Hervey Bay Esplanade at Scarness. Alistair Brightman

EXCLUSIVE: 20-year plan for Esplanade's future revealed

A JURY of residents is set to decide the future of Charlton Esplanade by helping develop a 20-year vision for Hervey Bay's foreshore. The Chronicle can reveal a bold new plan announced by the Fraser Coast Regional Council will include a "deliberative democracy" process, which will begin today.

The council's chief executive officer Ken Diehm said the process would enable the community to be informed about the status of projects identified in Hervey Bay tourist precinct master plans, and provide the opportunity to discuss potential new projects for the area.

"The first phase will include wider community engagement over the next month that will provide everyone an opportunity to have their say through an online survey, targeted group discussions and drop-in open houses," Mr Diehm said.

"The second phase will involve a panel of up to 50 randomly selected community members who will come together over several months to discuss and consider in detail a vision for the Hervey Bay Esplanade.

"The panel is independently selected and representative of the wider community demographics in terms of age, gender and geography.

"Following their deliberations, the panel will then write a set of clear recommendations which will be presented in a report to the council in September."

Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour said the seven-month process would give the council a clear direction on the community's vision and direction for the Esplanade which would be used to inform future planning and budgets.

"The Esplanade is one of the best recognised and most loved features of the Fraser Coast, and helps define Hervey Bay's identity and reputation as a great place to work, live and holiday," he said.

Drop-in consultation sessions for the Hervey Bay community to have their say will be held at Bill Fraser Park in Torquay from 9am to 1pm on March 23 and at the Urangan Pier from 9am to 1pm on March 30.