Thursday, 26 August 2010

Civic leaders counting the cost

From The Herald...


NEWCASTLE City Council will have to rethink its parking strategy and work out how to cover any holes left in its budgets from lost income after The GPT Group dumped its city redevelopment.

Lord mayor John Tate has called an extraordinary meeting of council for tonight about the issue.

In a mayoral minute, Cr Tate has called for an urgent report on the ramifications of the developer's decision on the council, its budgets and city planning.

Cr Tate said the council had intended to co-ordinate the maintenance of Cathedral Park with the rebuilding of King Street, which was now not a possibility.

The council would need to consider the cost of repairing the park retaining wall, as well as the maintenance costs of the King Street parking station, which the council was to sell to GPT.

It would also need to look at its parking management, including spaces and metering. Cr Tate said the council should also look at whether it had any money it could put towards the Hunter Street mall.

Greens councillor Michael Osborne said the state government needed to show "real leadership" and bring the community together around its plan for light rail in the city.

Cr Osborne said the government, Hunter Minister Jodi McKay and federal MP Sharon Grierson should meet with the council and other MPs to discuss plans for the city.

"There needs to be proper engagement with the community, including stakeholder groups, in order to gain the widespread community support that we need to progress the revitalisation of Newcastle," he said.

Ms McKay said yesterday she would be pleased to attend any roundtable meeting of leaders and she urged the lord mayor to also invite the NSW opposition's Hunter spokesman Mike Gallacher "to provide his input into the future of this great city".

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