December 12, 2021 - January 22, 2022: Issue 522


Manly Cove Upgrade Proposal Open for feedback until january 28th 2022

screenshot from Interactive portal at:

December 15, 2021

Manly Cove Concept Design

Manly Cove is an iconic and locally significant place. People and vessels have been part of Manly, accessing the Cove by sea, for centuries and continue to do so. 

Transport for NSW is carrying out two separate projects in Manly Cove, as part of the $205 million NSW Government stimulus funding for maritime infrastructure and safety upgrades to improve the accessibility to and along the Cove for all of the community including those with assisted and unassisted mobility needs. 

Transport for NSW is planning two separate projects, as part of the $205 million NSW Government stimulus funding for maritime infrastructure and safety upgrades, to improve the accessibility to and along the Cove for all people including those with assisted and unassisted mobility needs. The two projects involve:

  • an upgrade of Manly Wharf 3
  • plans to enhance the area of the former Manly Sea Life site.

Have your say

Transport for NSW invite you to have your say on these projects. Both projects are on display for community feedback until 5pm Friday 28 January 2022.

Interactive portal at:

You can share your feedback by email:

You can also provide your feedback on the Feedback form.

Detailed environmental studies will form part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for each project. Transport has a statutory responsibility under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) to consider the impacts of its activities on the environment. The EIA will:

  • identify potential environmental impacts at an early stage in project development
  • assess and evaluate the potential impacts of construction and operation of the projects
  • develop measures to avoid or minimise potential impacts by:
    • – modifying the design
    • – identifying safeguards to be implemented during construction and operational phases
    • – identifying potential offset requirements and implementing these during construction.

During early investigations for the proposed projects, Transport will consider the potential environmental impacts to gain an understanding of the possible constraints and opportunities, and to inform the development of the concept design.

A biodiversity assessment report will be provided as part of the environmental assessments. Transport will consider marine species, including the Little (‘Fairy’) Penguin, seagrass and White’s Seahorse, located near the proposed project sites. 

Little (‘Fairy’) Penguins 

The Manly area provides known breeding habitat for the Eudyptula minor (Little Penguin), which is listed as endangered under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act).

Transport recognises the Manly area is fortunate to have the only remaining Little Penguin breeding colony on the NSW mainland, and that this is valued strongly by the local community.

Throughout the environmental assessement process for this project Transport will work closely with relevant state agencies and Council to identify and understand potential impacts and mitigation measures in order to protect these important species. 


Previous assessments carried out by Cardno Ecology Lab (2021 and 2017) identified the presence of the seagrass meadows within and near the project areas. The area east of Manly Wharf has been identified and mapped as containing Posidonia australis, which is listed as an endangered population under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (FM Act).

Seagrasses located near the proposed project site also contribute to fisheries productivity in coastal waters and provide important feeding and refuge areas for marine life. 

Seahorses and other marine species

The Hippocampus whitei (White’s Seahorse) is an endangered species in the Sydney Harbour area and favours shallow-water estuarine habitats. Pylons and seagrass meadows have the potential to provide habitat for seahorses, sea-dragons, pipefish, pipe-horses and sea-moths, which are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conversation Act and Fisheries Management Act 1994 (FM Act).

Manly Wharf 3

Customers with mobility needs currently have difficulty accessing ferry or other commercial services from Manly Wharf 3.

A concept design for a full wharf upgrade has been developed and we are inviting the community and customers to have their say on the suggested changes.

Proposed Concept Design for Manly Wharf 3

Benefits of the upgrade include:

  • improved access for mobility impaired customers and customers with prams
  • improved customer amenity such as protection from the wind, rain and sun, seating and waiting areas
  • improved safety for customers
  • quicker and more efficient boarding and disembarking
  • improved pedestrian access around the wharf
  • more efficient interchange with other modes of public and private transport
  • consideration of Manly place making opportunities
  • catering for future sea level rise.

Key design features

Due to the wind and wave movements the proposed Manly Wharf upgrade will include a hydraulic platform with a fixed waiting area, customer seating, weather protection and gangways.

New canopies and roofs will be sympathetic to the heritage precinct and character of the surrounding buildings and maritime landscape.

Ramps and paths would be installed to connect to the nearby interchanges. Most of the existing wharf structure would be removed as part of this proposal.

Manly Wharf Preferred Concept Design

The proposed Wharf upgrade has been designed to:

  • provide accessibility for all customers using the wharf
  • improve customer amenities and waiting areas
  • improve services for customers and operators using commercial vessels
  • cater for sea level rises
  • be functional with a respectful design theme that considers the heritage precinct and history of Manly Cove.

While the priority of the NSW Government’s Transport Accessibility Program is to provide accessibility for all customers using our public transport network, Transport for NSW has identified an opportunity to plan for the future growth in commercial and recreational vessel usage at Manly Cove.

In the concept design presented for stakeholder and community feedback, they have highlighted an area where recreational and smaller commercial vessel berthing opportunities may be available for inclusion in the final design. Transport for NSW encourage stakeholders and the community to provide suggestions as to how this additional area may be used to maximise recreational and commercial berthing opportunities.


We recognise the importance and sensitivity of the local Manly environment. Our proposed design has carefully considered the potential impacts of the construction footprint on the local environment particularly the aquatic ecology.

The impacts will be further assessed as part of the strategic environmental investigations that will shortly commence to support the preparation of the Environmental Impact Assessment for both projects.

The associated impacts of the proposal on the environment and our approach to mitigate and minimise these impacts will be detailed in the environmental assessment.

The community will have an opportunity to review the environmental assessment and provide a submission as part of its public display, which is expected to occur in the first half of 2022.


We are committed to minimising impacts and disruption to customers, businesses, and the community during the proposed works.

More information and the opportunity to provide feedback on the construction of the proposed upgrade will be provided as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment consultation process.

Construction of the Manly Wharf 3 is expected to start in 2023 (subject to funding), which would take up to eight months to complete based on previous wharf upgrades.

Accessible Public Transport

The Transport Access Program is an initiative to provide a better experience for public transport customer by delivering accessible, modern, secure and comfortable transport that connect with other transport infrastructure. It is a legal requirement that all public transport infrastructure, including wharves, have fully compliant disability access by December 2022.

Manly Wharf 3: After - artists impression

Former Manly Sea Life site

Transport for NSW is the owner of the former aquarium Manly Sea Life and the Manly Pavilion.

Since the Sea Life aquarium building was closed in 2018, it has remained vacant and is not fit for reuse. The aquarium building is dilapidated, and it still houses custom built tanks and enclosures not easily adapted to a future new use. The building also blocks sight lines to the heritage buildings behind.

Transport recognises the importance of creating a place, which respects the local cultural heritage, connects people to land and water and creates a prominent waterfront location in Manly.

Transport for NSW would like to enhance the Manly West Esplanade precinct area and reconnect the Pavilion and heritage buildings with the beach by removing the aquarium building and extending the boardwalk with enough width for outdoor dining and a recreational edge. This proposal would provide a safe, family friendly for the West Esplanade area, which maintains and celebrates the local heritage of the area.

There is also the opportunity to improve public waterfront access with the possibility of the inclusion of a wharf structure for pick up and drop off of recreational vessels. Transport for NSW are seeking your feedback on their plans and potential uses for the site.

Manly Sea Life and the Manly Pavilion: After - artists impression

Transport for NSW invite you to come and meet the team where you may ask questions and lean more about the proposed projects.

When: Monday 20 December 2021 between 8am and 11am and Tuesday 21 December 2021 between 8am and 11am.

Transport for NSW will also be holding some further sessions in the same location on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 January 2022 between 8am and 11am.

Social distancing measures will be in place to protect the safety of  staff and the community, Transport for NSW ask you to respect these measures when you visit their team.

Contact us

If you have any questions, would like more information about this project or to subscribe for updates please contact the project team:

Ph: 1800 770 973 (during business hours)