This little gem of a regional city that we live in, holiday in, work in – how it has blossomed in the almost 10 years that I have had the pleasure to reside here.
Universities, hospitals, a metamorphosis to a considerably more sophisticated tourist destination, sea-changers flocking aplenty – a demographic shift from older retirees to young families from urban centres seeking a less hectic lifestyle and more bang for their buck housing price wise.
Infrastructure has had to follow suit, with more traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, parking, new roads – not to mention an ever expanding postcode, with new parts of town under construction, new schools and supermarkets en masse.
It’s quite incredible to witness, especially put within the perspective of a decade having been here – that what was a much quieter, uncomplicated little place – still somewhat reminiscent of fond early childhood memories for many of times gone by; to a bustling and dynamic coastal city … A place not just desirable to retirees looking for a sea-change or holiday makers seeking a quintessential Aussie summer holiday, but somewhere which manages to offer up the best of what living in Australia has to offer.
Not only do we have the best climate in Australia, some of the best beaches and coastal scenery – but now we have a renowned university, a top medical school and health system, a wonderful performing arts venue in The Glasshouse – attracting some of the best local and international talent. And of course, it goes without saying that there’s a warm and vibrant community here, where somehow we are the perfect size where the place is still small enough to ensure that you always run into someone you know on a trip into town, but now also large enough to create some serious diversity in what’s on offer.
And that diversity has become ever more apparent, especially over the last couple of years, with the retail and service sector expanding exponentially.
Unique little shops popping up all over, character filled cafés serving most excellent coffee, new restaurants and then larger chains scouting Port Macquarie as a seriously good prospect.
It’s boom time indeed. And not just seasonally as previously so – this place is busy all year around – there’s festivals, conferences and competitions and Ironman of course. The huge dip in trade we used to see over the winter months has become more of a blip in recent years.
All this seems like good news for local businesses and residents for the most part but of course, there are those that want to keep things the way they are, or that came here to live in a smaller, uncomplicated place.
And of course, there are the parts we all don’t like, such as driving around for ages looking for a parking space, waiting in queues or being stuck in traffic.
But when we reflect on the change the last 10 years has brought our town and region, we should most certainly embrace the positive element, as these are so many – in that we live in a dynamic place which attracts wealth and investment, that the strong growth we see benefits each and every one of us in ways that we may not even realise yet. That this place is just a wonderful place for all age-groups and that there are prospects here for our children in their future – something so hard to achieve in so many other regional areas.
I think it may have been touched upon in previous columns, usually penned around this time of year – how lucky are we to live here?
Enjoy your summer, whether you work, play and/or stay here!