Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Newcastle council pushes portside rail link

From The Herald...


INDUSTRIAL Drive would be choked by traffic if a container terminal was approved at the former BHP site without new road and rail infrastructure, Newcastle councillor Michael Osborne said last night.

The council unanimously supported a notice of motion by Cr Osborne, which called for the establishment of a portside rail link from Sandgate junction to the BHP site.

The motion also called on the state government to release its masterplan for the port of Newcastle.

Cr Osborne told the council meeting that a council submission on the proposed container terminal had said that "Industrial Highway would fail" because of the extra traffic.

"We're calling for infrastructure to be put in up-front for a problem that we know is going to happen," Cr Osborne said. "What needs to happen is they need to look at the port as a whole.

"I think it's a dumb idea for this city that we have this skew towards coal when we could be doing a whole lot of other things with our port and diversifying it."

Cr Aaron Buman said many concerns about traffic were unfounded because he did not believe the proposed contained terminal would be needed for 20 to 25 years.

Cr Buman said he had never seen "propaganda" like the brochures distributed in Mayfield before the March state election, which warned of thousands of daily truck movements through the suburb.

"I'd stand on my grandmother's grave to say there would be no traffic through suburban streets of Mayfield," Cr Buman said.

Councillors also backed a push for a duplication of the Tourle Street bridge and road upgrades on Kooragang Island.

"The Tourle Street duplication needs to happen before the port on Kooragang Island develops," Cr Osborne said.

Lord mayor John Tate labelled the Tourle Street bridge "an abomination".

The motion also calls for dust monitoring in suburbs around the port.

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