Man dies after motorbike crash – Raymond Terrace

A man has died following a single vehicle motorbike crash in the Hunter Region this afternoon.

About 2.45pm today (Saturday 18 September 2021), emergency services attended the intersection of Bailey Avenue and Sailors Way, Raymond Terrace regarding a crash involving an unregistered motorbike.

Police have been informed that the motorcycle collided with the curb where the 36-year-old male rider and a 6-year-old female passenger were ejected the from the motorcycle.

The male died at the scene and the girl was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics for minor injuries. The man was not wearing a helmet.

Officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District established a crime scene and commenced an investigation.

A report will be prepared for the information of the coroner.

Another cycleway link completed

The city’s cycleway network has received a boost with works finalising on a 1.1km shared path along Watkins Street, Merewether, linking Glebe Road, The Junction, with Merewether Beach.

The 2.5m-wide shared path is the first stage of the City Centre to Merewether Cycleway project and features new and upgraded crossings making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and upgrades to drainage.

The-Junction-Public-School-Principal-Cath-Larkman-Lord-Mayor-Nuatali-Nelmes-and-Councillor-John-Mackenzie-at-the-new-shared-path.jpgImage: The Junction Public School Principal Cath Larkman, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Councillor John Mackenzie pictured at the new 1.1km shared path, in front of a new raised crossing which links the shared path to The Junction Public School.

The $3.1million project was brought forward last year after receiving a funding boost under Newcastle’s COVID-19 stimulus capital works budget. The NSW Government also committed $600,000 to the project under the 2020/21 Walking and Cycling Program.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the delivery of this significant cycleway project demonstrates City of Newcastle’s commitment to cementing Newcastle’s reputation as a cycling and pedestrian-friendly city.

“This 1.1km shared path is a demonstration of the City’s commitment to ensuring Newcastle continues to be a city which promotes and encourages active transport options,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Improved cycleways are a top priority for our community and I know this new link will be enjoyed by residents, commuters, students travelling to the nearby schools and those visiting this beautiful part of Newcastle.

“City of Newcastle will now commence planning for the second stage between the CBD and The Junction as part of the overall City Centre to Merewether Cycleway.”

Councillor John Mackenzie said it was clear that improving safety had been a key goal of everyone involved in the project.

“Improving safety has been a focus of the project and the raised crossings and wide path will provide both pedestrians and cyclists with a safe passage across what can be a busy road,” Mr Mackenzie said.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin MLC said the State Government is helping people who want to walk and cycle as part of their everyday commute and supporting an active and healthy lifestyle, while also helping to relieve congestion on the roads and public transport.

“This project is one of 32 active transport projects across the state, including 16 in regional areas that are being delivered over the next 12 months,” Mr Martin said.

In a busy month for City of Newcastle, the completion of the Merewether shared path follows the delivery of separated cycleways on Hunter Street. City of Newcastle is also in the process of undertaking shared pathway improvements on University Drive at Birmingham Gardens and improvements are being finalised along the shared pathway at the Warabrook Wetlands.

To find out more information about cycleways and shared paths in Newcastle, visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au/cycleways

Teenager charged with murder after fatal stabbing – Lake Macquarie

Police have charged a teenage boy over the alleged fatal stabbing of one boy and the serious wounding of another in Lake Macquarie last night.

Emergency services were called to a home on Parbury Road, Swansea, following reports two boys had been stabbed in the front yard about 8.20pm (Friday 17 September 2021).

Officers from Lake Macquarie Police District found the boys, both aged 16, with stab wounds near the home.

Neighbours and police rendered assistance to the boys before NSW Ambulance paramedics arrived.

One of the boys died at the scene. The other was taken to John Hunter Hospital, where he underwent surgery and remains in a serious but stable condition.

Officers established a crime scene and commenced an investigation.

Following inquiries and a search of the area, officers found a 16-year-old boy in the backyard of the home on Parbury Road about 9.20pm (Friday 17 September 2021).

He was arrested and taken to Belmont Police Station, where he has since been charged with murder, and attempted murder.

He’s due to appear in a children’s court today (Saturday 18 September 2021).

Police will allege in court that the boy stabbed the other boys following a verbal argument outside the property.

Inquiries continue.

Man charged after alleged armed robbery – Jesmond

A man will face court today charged after an alleged armed robbery in the Newcastle area yesterday.

About 4.45pm (Wednesday 15 September 2021), a man entered a business on Blue Gum Road, Jesmond, and allegedly threatened a shop assistant with a firearm while demanding cash.

The man allegedly stole a sum of cash and four bottles of alcohol, before leaving the store.

The male shop assistant and two other men in the store at the time, were not hurt during the incident.

Police were alerted and officers from Newcastle City Police Area Command commenced inquiries.

A short time later, following information from the public, officers arrested a 24-year-old man outside a house in nearby Heaton Street.

The man was taken to Newcastle Police Station and charged with robbery while armed with dangerous weapon, possess unauthorised pistol, not wear fitted face covering in retail/business premises, not ensure true and accurate info provided to Service NSW, and not comply with noticed direction – COVID-19.

He was refused bail to appear today (Thursday 16 September 2021) at Newcastle Local Court.

Work continuing behind the scenes at Blackbutt Reserve

As one of Newcastle’s most popular open green spaces, Blackbutt Reserve has remained a haven for locals looking for COVID safe exercise options during lockdown.

But the walking trails haven’t been the only site of activity across the popular reserve, with ongoing essential work required to look after its animals and maintain its 182 hectares of bushland.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Cr Peta Winney-Baartz with Blackbutt staff members (L-R) Beth Woodhouse with Romeo the snake, Abbey Johnston with Carla the tawny frogmouth, Jemma Gosper with Kirra the koala and Abbie Ferris with Frida the frilled-neck lizard.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Blackbutt’s staff have continued to feed and care for the animals in the wildlife exhibits throughout lockdown, while City of Newcastle crews were also forging ahead with almost $200,000 worth of improvement projects to enhance the facility’s natural environment and visitor experience.

“As one of Newcastle’s most popular tourist attractions, Blackbutt Reserve is a jewel in the city’s crown, much-loved by locals and visitors alike,” Cr Nelmes said.

“But looking after the environment and its inhabitants is no small task. Our rangers are responsible for two koalas, eight emus, 10 kangaroos, 19 wallabies, a dozen species of reptile, two species of frog, ‘Wally’ the wallaroo, ‘Sally’ and “Clyde” the wombats, and over 40 species of bird.

“It’s a lot of mouths to feed every day and looking after all of them takes time and care. Our rangers work hard and should be commended because they do a wonderful job.”

Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said City of Newcastle staff had been busy during lockdown maintaining the site and undertaking a range of improvement projects.

“Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, City of Newcastle staff have continued to undertake regular maintenance across the reserve to ensure it’s in top shape when it reopens to visitors,” Cr Winney-Baartz said.

“They have also been using this time to deliver some significant projects, which will enhance the natural environment and visitor experience at Blackbutt now and into the future.”

Crews have begun installing two new irrigation systems at Richley Reserve and modernising the existing system, which will significantly improve water efficiency and the user experience of this area.

In the coming months, work will start on improving sections of the boardwalk that flow through the wildlife animal exhibits. The boardwalk project also incorporates replacement of supports at the koala enclosure, which delivers a truly unique visitor experience.

Improvements to the carparks at Carnley Avenue and Richley Reserve have been completed, including line marking, installation of wheel stops and new signage.

The gates at Blackbutt Reserve will be open from tomorrow for groups of up to five fully vaccinated people to participate in outdoor recreation like picnics, in line with NSW Government advice. Blackbutt’s animal enclosures will remain closed until restrictions ease further.

To find out more about Blackbutt reserve, visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/blackbutt-reserve

Tree loppers fined for breaching Public Health Orders – Lake Macquarie

Six men have been issued Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) after allegedly breaching the Public Health Orders by leaving Western Sydney and attending Lake Macquarie.

On Tuesday 20 July 2021, officers from Lake Macquarie Police District attended a holiday rental property on Yanko Street, Toronto, following reports a group of men had allegedly travelled to the area from Western Sydney to undertake tree lopping services.

Six men – aged between 17 and 59 – told police they had been in the area prior to ‘Stay at Home’ orders being put in place in Greater Sydney and did not intend to return until restrictions lifted.

Further inquiries were conducted in relation to any breaches of the Public Health Order.

On Tuesday 31 August 2021, police were called to an apartment complex in Charlestown after being alerted by NSW Health that a 59-year-old man displaying COVID-19 symptoms had been taken to John Hunter Hospital for treatment and a 23-year-old man had left to obtain a COVID-19 test.

It was later confirmed that the older man tested positive for COVID-19; all other men had left the Charlestown apartment prior to police arrival.

Following extensive inquiries, five men were issued with seven $1000 PINs for fail to comply with noticed direction re s 7/8/9 – COVID-19.

An 18-year-old man was also issued with a $200 PIN for failing to wear a fitted face covering in an indoor area-non-residential premises during an unrelated incident at a shopping centre on Thursday 29 July 2021.

Inquiries are ongoing, anyone who wishes to report an alleged breach of the Public Health Orders is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information in relation to breaches of the Public Health Orders is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

City services and facilities COVID-19 lockdown update

Many of City of Newcastle’s publicly facing facilities will be closed to the public in line with the lockdown announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for areas of the Hunter, including the Newcastle local government area.

The following City of Newcastle facilities are closed:

  • Blackbutt Reserve (other than bush trails for essential exercise)
  • City of Newcastle libraries including the return chutes
  • City Administration Centre at 12 Stewart Avenue including the customer service centre and the digital library
  • City Hall
  • Civic Theatre
  • Community centres and halls
  • Fort Scratchley
  • Newcastle Art Gallery
  • Newcastle Museum
  • Tighes Hill Animal Facility
  • Visitor Information Centre

Essential services including kerbside waste collection and patrols of beaches, ocean baths and public areas by City of Newcastle lifeguards and rangers will continue, while Beresfield Childcare Centre will remain open.

City of Newcastle staff will continue to undertake essential construction and maintenance services in a COVID-19 safe manner and in accordance with relevant Public Health Orders.

Summerhill Waste Management Centre is open to all customers including domestic and commercial, and for kerbside collections in line with NSW Government advice. Customers will be required to check-in, wear a face mask and adhere to social distancing. Cashless payments are preferred. If you have a bulk waste self-haul voucher with an expiry date between 5 August and 10 September 2021, its expiry will automatically be extended by two months to give you sufficient time to use your voucher.

Swimming centres remain closed across Newcastle in line with the seasonal schedule.

City of Newcastle will continue to provide customer service via telephone and online web chat between 8.30am and 4pm Monday to Friday.

We encourage our community to follow the Public Health Order and the Stay at Home restrictions.

For information regarding the lockdown or Public Health Orders visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/COVID-19

Information regarding individuals or businesses who are or may be contravening the current NSW Health Order should be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

City to progress significant remediation of former Shortland landfill site

City of Newcastle will soon go to tender to remediate a former landfill site at Shortland where much of the debris from the Newcastle earthquake was buried.

The work will be brought forward following preliminary investigations that show the scale of work will be significantly more complex and costly than previously expected.

The former Astra Street landfill opened in 1974, taking waste from across the Hunter until it was closed in 1995.

Acting Director Infrastructure and Property Joanne Rigby said City of Newcastle has been working with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on a plan to remediate the site and protect the nearby RAMSAR-listed Hunter Wetlands.

“City of Newcastle is committed to ensuring historic sites like Astra Street Shortland are not forgotten and we work closely with the EPA to ensure they’re adhering to modern environmental management standards,” Ms Rigby said.

“We have completed our preliminary investigations and finalised two detailed designs, which will improve the 20-year-old capping and drainage on the 37-hectare site.”

Ms Rigby said the detailed designs had allowed City of Newcastle to update their project estimates, with cost efficiencies and innovative methodologies to be explored where possible during the tender process.

“Following further assessments of the site, the cost of the remediation work is expected to significantly increase on initial estimates, which will need to be factored into the 2021 Budget,” Ms Rigby said.

“City of Newcastle will invite tenders from five companies identified during an expression of interest process to carry out the construction of these enhanced environmental safeguards, with work expected to get underway next year.

“This will include the final capping and reprofiling of the site, drainage improvements to aid in management of surface water and sediment runoff, followed by revegetation and landscaping.

“These works will allow City of Newcastle to help protect and maintain the local environment well into the future, safeguarding the water quality of surrounding wetlands and aquatic ecosystems, increasing biodiversity values and promoting long-term native vegetation growth.”

City’s commercial kitchen facilities dish up support to charities

With the city in lockdown, City of Newcastle has handed over its unused commercial kitchen facilities to help charities prepare healthy meals for families struggling to get by.

Newcastle City Hall’s Executive Chef, Mark Rusev, is putting his culinary skills to use by preparing meals to be delivered to families at Ronald McDonald House.

The City’s commercial kitchen at the Fort Scratchley Function Centre has also been donated to Catholic Care Social Services where they will prepare 300 healthy meals each week.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle’s Civic Services Venues & Catering team reached out to local charities to offer up the City’s unused commercial kitchen facilities, to help charities meet increased demand.

“Many Newcastle families are experiencing financial difficulty and facing economic uncertainty as a result of the prolonged lockdown, placing immense strain on local charities,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Due to current restrictions, our facilities’ commercial kitchen spaces are temporarily not operating, so our Civic Services Venues & Catering team came up with an initiative to open their kitchens to support charities who have either had to scale up due to COVID-19, or have been adversely affected by the lockdown measures.

“City of Newcastle team members have supported Ronald McDonald House in recent years by visiting the house to prepare meals for families, so this is a wonderful way of continuing our support in a COVID-safe way by cooking in our own facilities and delivering the meals.”

Ronald McDonald House Community Engagement Coordinator Kerryn Scully said she was appreciative of the City of Newcastle’s offer to cook meals for families staying at the House during the current lockdown.

“Families staying at Ronald McDonald House are finding it very difficult at the moment to simply pop down to the supermarket to purchase ingredients to prepare their own meals, as they need to remain extra vigilant to COVID-19 in order to protect their child undergoing vital treatment at John Hunter Children’s Hospital,” Ms Scully said.

“Some families stay with us for 100 days or more, so the cost of purchasing takeaway meals every night is an expensive option for families already under financial strain, and takeaway options are not always healthy.

“We are so grateful to our generous community and the City of Newcastle team for their kind gesture to prepare and deliver quality meals prepared by Executive Chef Mark Rusev. Our beautiful families are doing it extremely tough at the moment and this is just one less problem they have to face, allowing them to focus on supporting their child.”

Summerhill Waste Management Centre service resumes for domestic customers

In line with NSW Government advice Summerhill Waste Management Centre has now reopened to all customers.

During the stay at home orders which have been in place across New South Wales since early-August, Summerhill Waste Management Centre has continued to operate for commercial purposes and kerbside collections, and from today domestic customers can visit the facility to dispose of waste and recyclables.

Where possible, we encourage you to continue to stay home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and limit your use of our facility to essential purposes only.

COVIDSafe measures will remain in place and customers visiting the facility will be required to check-in, wear a face mask and adhere to social distancing. Cashless payments are preferred.

Self-haul vouchers with an expiry date of 5 August 2021 or later will automatically be extended by two months to give customers sufficient time to use their voucher.

For more information on City of Newcastle’s waste services visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/summerhill