Help shape our growing city’s future

What will Newcastle look like in 20-plus years’ time, with more than 35,000 additional residents and 19,500 new dwellings?

City of Newcastle is asking the community to help shape the future of our growing Local Government Area, which is projected to grow by around 25 percent to a population of 202,000 by 2040.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the opinions and wishes of Novocastrians were essential to the City’s planning process.

“This is a unique opportunity to shape how our city evolves into the future. Newcastle has so many wonderful and unique features, so we want to make sure we maintain and enhance them as we grow,” the Lord Mayor said.
“It’s important our strategic planning allows us to make the most of the exciting opportunities for our city and to manage growth effectively in line with what our community wants to see.”

In March 2018 the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) was amended, which introduced new requirements for councils to develop Local Strategic Planning Statements (LSPS). The Newcastle LSPS will set out the 20-year vision for the land use of our local area, the special characteristics which contribute to our local identity, shared community values, and how growth and change will be managed in the future.

The Lord Mayor said there was a focus on engaging young people, so the future of Newcastle reflected the values of tomorrow’s ratepayers.

“The LSPS community consultation period is open now and aims to speak to a broad cross-section of residents, including the City’s youth, who will be beneficiaries of the strategic planning we do now for our city in 2040,” the Lord Mayor said.

“A ‘Big Picture’ Newcastle activity sheet provides local youth with a chance to offer feedback on what they love about their City, how improvements can be made and what needs to be maintained to ensure the City of Newcastle remains an incredible place to live.”
A series of community sessions will be hosted at the TAFE NSW Tighes Hill campus, Newcastle Pride Fair, the University of Newcastle, Newcastle Library and the Olive Tree Markets.

Community members have until Wednesday, 11 September to have their say. More information about the community consultation period including an online survey can be found here.

Two charged over aggravated break and enter at Belmont

Two men have been charged over an alleged aggravated break and enter in the Lake Macquarie region.

About 1.30pm yesterday (Monday 18 August 2019), an aggravated break and enter occurred at a home in Belmont.

The offenders stole jewellery, passports and personal items, and were seen leaving the scene in a Toyota Corolla.

About 3pm the same day, officers from Lake Macquarie Police District sighted the vehicle at a home on Kambora Close, Windale.

About 6pm, officers executed a search warrant at the address. Inside the home, police arrested two men, aged 26 and 27, who were located hiding in a roof cavity.

Proceeds from the break and enter were allegedly located in the home.

The two men were taken to Belmont Police Station.

The older man was charged with fraud and driving offences, as well as aggravated break enter and steal in company.

The younger man was charged with an outstanding domestic violence and prison warrant, as well as domestic violence offences and aggravated break enter and steal in company.

They were both refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court today (Tuesday 20 August 2019).

Man dies following crash at Scone

A man has died following a crash in the Hunter Region.

About 4.30pm (Monday 19 August 2019), a Mazda 3 was travelling on Noblet Street, Scone, when it travelled onto a dirt access road and crashed into a tree.

The driver and sole occupant, a 66-year-old man, was treated at the scene before being taken to Scone Hospital where he died a short time later.

Officers from Hunter Valley Police District commenced inquiries into the incident and will prepare a report for the Coroner.

Dixon Park Surf Club unveils revamp

Surf life savers and surf-club members of all ages and abilities have welcomed a refurbishment of the Dixon Park Surf Life Saving Club with new change rooms, including space for female members, and accessible amenities, creating a more inclusive community facility.

The $640,000 upgrade was jointly funded by NSW Government through a Surf Club Facilities Grant, City of Newcastle, Dixon Park SLSC and Ability Links NSW and officially opened on Sunday 18 August.

Pictured left to right: President Hunter Surf Life Saving Heny Scruton, Lord Mayor of Newcastle Clr Nuatali Nelmes, CEO Hunter Surf Life Saving Rhonda Scruton, Ability Links NSW Jacinta Irwin, Leonie Miller and Belinda McDaid, Paul Murray President DPSLSC with DPSLC juniors.

Dixon Park SLSC President Paul Murray said because the Club has proudly attracted more women and families to surf lifesaving, the refurbishment is essential to its future growth.

“The refurbishment has made a huge difference to the quality of the Club facilities which are used by hundreds of members including our nippers, juniors and senior lifesavers as well as lifeguards and visitors,” Mr Murray said.

“The project has been a genuine partnership between Dixon Park Surf Life Saving Club and City of Newcastle which has produced a great outcome for our community.

The Lord Mayor of Newcastle Nuatali Nelmes said the much-needed refurbishment supports the City’s coastal revitalisation program which is helping Novocastrians and visitors enjoy the coastal lifestyle.

“Our local surf clubs are some of the largest community groups in Newcastle. By having quality facilities, like the refurbished Dixon Park Surf Life Saving Club, we can encourage young people, families and less mobile people to be involved in surf clubs, to be more active and to enjoy all the benefits of the living near the coast.”

The upgraded facility includes refurbished changes rooms, accessible showers and toilets and parents change rooms as well as new kitchenette, meeting room and small function space on the ground floor of the Dixon Park SLSC pavilion.

Police request phone vision of assault – Hamilton

Police investigating the assault of a man in Hamilton overnight have requested phone vision of the incident.

About 1.45am (Sunday 18 August 2019), police attended the intersection of Beaumont and Clearly Streets following reports of an assault.

Police found three injured men, one with a broken nose and a displaced tooth, one with a cut lip and the other with minor abrasions.

A 30-year-old Tighes Hill man was arrested at the scene and taken to Newcastle City Police Station. He was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and affray.

He was granted conditional bail and is expected to appear before Newcastle Local Court on Thursday 5 September 2019.

As police arrived at the scene a number of people were filming the incident and investigators are now appealing for those witnesses to contact Newcastle City police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Woman charged with high-range PCA with child in car – Maitland

A woman has been charged with high-range drink driving while a child was in the car in the state’s Hunter region today.

About 11.55am (Thursday 15 August 2019), officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District were conducting a stationary RBT operation on the New England Highway, Maitland when a red Ford Falcon was stopped.

The driver, a 34-year-old woman, underwent a roadside breath test and allegedly returned a positive result.

Upon inspection of her vehicle, police found a seven-year-old boy in the rear passenger seat.

The woman was arrested and taken to Maitland Police Station, where she underwent a breath analysis and returned an alleged reading of 0.227.

The young child was also taken to the station and cared for by police until a family member arrived.

The woman’s license was suspended immediately, and she was issued with a Field Court Attendance Notice for the offence of drive with high range prescribed concentration of alcohol.

She’s due to appear at Maitland Local Court on Wednesday 25 September 2019.

Port Stephens-Hunter Police District’s Acting Inspector Kristin Marshall said officers are continually dumbfounded by those who choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with children in the car.

“With Operation Merret and Operation Chrome both underway in the Northern Region, we are committed to having every road user reach their destination safely,” Insp Marshall said.

“It’s these kind of selfish decisions that could have fatal and harmful consequences. If you are too intoxicated to drive, you need to find alternative travel arrangements.

“We continue to implore the community to slow down, wear your seatbelt, avoid handling mobile phones and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.”


House destroyed by fire – Pokolbin

A house was destroyed by fire in the state’s Hunter Valley today.

About 5.20pm (Thursday 15 August 2019), emergency services were called to Gillards Road, Pokolbin, following reports of a house fire.

Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW Rural Fire Service attended and found the home to be entirely engulfed. The fire was controlled, and emergency services continue to extinguish the fire completely.

Officers from Hunter Valley Police District attended and established a crime scene.

The occupants of the home, a 68-year-old man and a 69-year-old woman, escaped the blaze uninjured.

The premises and its contents appear to be completely destroyed and the structure has been deemed unstable.

Investigations continue however, it is believed the fire started in a circuit board in the laundry and it is not being treated as suspicious.


Appeal for information following reported assault and sexual touching of teenager near Maitland

Detectives are appealing to the community for information following reports a teenager was assaulted and sexually touched by a group of males near Maitland last month.

Officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District were contacted after a 13-year-old girl disclosed she had been assaulted while she was walking on Thomas Coke Drive, Thornton, about 4.45pm on Thursday 4 July 2019.

Earlier this month, the matter was referred to detectives from the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad for further investigation.

After speaking with the girl further, detectives were told she was followed by about six males and pushed to the ground near the intersection of Thomas Coke Drive and John Arthur Avenue.

The girl further disclosed one of the males sexually touched her, before she was able to run away.

Investigators are now appealing to the community for assistance to identify the six males, who may be able to assist with the investigation.

They are all described as being in their late teens, wearing baggy jeans and riding BMX push bikes.

Detectives are also urging anyone who was in the area at the time who may have seen the incident, specifically a man who was walking his dog near the Alan & Don Lawrence Oval, to come forward.

The man is described as having an olive complexion, aged between 40 and 50, with dark hair and a long well-kept beard. He was walking a brown Border Collie cross German Sheppard.


Library of the future planned for Newcastle West

Dedicated podcasting and virtual reality equipment, 3D holograms of planned developments and interactive wall-mounted screens featuring key City attractions will feature among a suite of new offerings within the ground floor of the City’s future Central Administration Centre (CAC).

The digital library concept, which will be co-located with the customer service centre and Council Chamber in the City’s new CAC, will be the region’s first ‘library of the future’.


Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the space would be one of the stand-out features of the 12 Stewart Avenue building, which is just months away from occupation.

“When complete, this concept will put the City at the forefront of bridging the digital divide and deliver an advanced digital library focussed on digital literacy and inclusive access for our community,” the Lord Mayor said.

“It will redefine the library experience for people of all ages and create opportunities to experience emerging technologies and spark future innovation across our services.

“As part of the City’s 2019-2029 Library Strategy, which promotes new ways of thinking when it comes to library and customer services, it will help meet Smart City and sustainability commitments to foster digital inclusion and education equality, and inform the roll-out of future technology across other branches.”

As part of the plans, the Digital Library will offer coding classes to tech-minded students, novices or industry professionals eager to upskill their digital knowledge.

A multipurpose meeting room will also be available to the community. The space will also double as a podcasting studio, with library staff conducting regular classes demonstrating how to podcast.

The Digital Library will feature elements of a more traditional library including books, magazines and newspapers, which can be borrowed or read on comfortable lounge chairs. eBook download kiosks and a digital PressReader newspaper and magazine table will also feature in the new library.

Other features of the digital library concept include:

  • A digital ‘Magic Box’ that replicates pages from the City’s Rare Book collection. These can be read and navigated using the swipe of a finger from the outside of the glass;
  • Programming activities for all ages focussed on science and technology, such as coding activities for a robot, which can improve digital literacy skills
  • A focus on intergenerational digital inclusion activities to make it easier to access online information and services such as eGov services;
  • Interactive story walls that tell stories of our heritage and display vision from key city attractions such as Blackbutt Reserve and the Bathers Way Coastal Walk;
  • A cashless payment system which allows members to pay for printing, copying, fines and services online or in branches by using credit on their library cards.

While the library will initially operate within regular business hours, it is envisaged that in time an area on the ground floor complex will be configured to allow 24-hour opening hours for borrowing and computer access.

Libraries Manager Suzie Gately said the digital library project would take the best of traditional libraries and enhance the experience with modern technology.

“Libraries have, through history, been places for people to learn, relax and collaborate, and this project will take that experience to the next level by blending traditional book lending with curated digital content and a strong customer service focus,” she said.

Child dies in single-vehicle crash – New Lambton

A child has died following a single-vehicle crash in Newcastle this afternoon.

Shortly before 1pm, emergency services were called to McCaffrey Drive, New Lambton Heights, following reports a Holden statesman had lost control and collided with a power pole.

A girl was treated on the scene by an off-duty nurse and NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to John Hunter Children’s Hospital, where she died a short time later.

A woman was trapped in the vehicle before being freed and taken to John Hunter Hospital; her condition is unknown.

The male driver has been taken to the Mater Hospital for mandatory testing.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash has been launched.