Gosford CBD: A profile

Gosford is the largest city in the NSW Central Coast region with a local government area population of 166,626 (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2010). Gosford is located 76km from Sydney and 91km from Newcastle and has a recent history as a commuter city with those two cities as the major employment destination for many Gosford residents. According to Gosford City Council 37 per cent of residents in employment commute from the region for work. (2001, 4).

A key challenge identified by the local government for the long-term sustainability of the city - and the Central Coast region as a whole - is to develop more local jobs in a range of occupations. And particularly,

youth unemployment remains a major concern as limited local employment and career opportunities for this group result in young people either staying on the Coast and remaining unemployed or working casually, or moving to Sydney to find work. (Gosford City Council 2001 'Employment and Community')

The commuter-city demographic and the lack of local employment have had an impact on use of the local CBD.

In addition, Gosford CBD is centre of social service delivery for the Central Coast and this has given the CBD something of a 'welfare reputation' and an image problem. As Mel Law from Youth Connections, which provides services to local young people, explained:

I think maybe Gosford has been built up too much on the provision of these services»the Methadone Clinic, the Department of Housing, Mission Australia, Salvation Army, Centrelink» all of these are in the heart of Gosford, so there's a really strong culture of charity and services for the most disadvantaged in our community. All of the infrastructure in the city is built on these services.

Safety concerns are also an issue for use of the CBD. In a survey undertaken for the Gosford City Council Community Plan in 2001 safety was the most important issue for residents, specifically perceptions of crime, vandalism and issues of personal and pedestrian safety (Gosford City Council 2001, 11).

During my research a number of local people also mentioned safety and vandalism as an issue of concern.

The same resident survey also found that "the lack of night life and entertainment options in the Gosford Central Business District" was also a concern for local residents.