Monday, 24 April 2017

Library set for major upgrade


Newcastle city library is set for a major 1.3 million dollar revamp, ahead of the 60th anniversary of the War memorial cultural centre.

As part of the digital revolution Newcastle is currently experiencing, the Library will undergo some big changes to keep up to date.

A 'digital makerspace' will be developed in the upgrades and will include a range of new technology available to visitors, while another big change will be the creation of a children's zone.

The library will be closed from today until May the 8th, when a temporary library will operate until all the work is complete, estimated to be sometime around September.

Artists impression of the new look Library
Photo source: Newcastle Herald

Cessnock Council calling for funds to fix roads


Cessnock City Council is calling on the NSW Government to make their roads a priority and address concerns over the condition of state roads in the area.

Cessnock councillors have voted unanimously to support a motion to seek support from state government officials.

Mayor Bob Pynsent says the council are seeking urgent meetings with the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, in a bid to work towards a solution for Cessnock's ageing state road network.

Talks with other official parties haven't been as successful as the council had hoped.

'We've been talking to RMS (Roads and Maritime Services) for a number of months now, and we don't seem to be getting a final result; as in funding for our roads, and we're concerned about Main Road Heddon Greta, the entrances out of Frame Drive Bridge and Wine Country Drive at Nulkaba."

Among the roads and intersections the council say need attention include:
- Wine Country Drive, Nulkaba - intersection work
- Wine Country Drive, Nulkaba maintenance works and access to the Cessnock Correctional Centre
- Main Road, Heddon Greta - intersection issues and pedestrian issues
- Hart Road, Frame Drive, Orange Street, Cessnock Road connection to the HEX
- Wollombi Road

The Hunter Expressway is thought to be causing a lot of problems for the small town roads with a lot of extra traffic moving through the town to either get on the expressway or getting off to go elsewhere.

"The need for funding is purely on the saftey issues that have resulted from teh extra traffic on the road network around the hunter expressway," said Bob Pynsent.

Maitland Council's spending plans up for comment


Maitland City Council won't be going on too much of a spending spree without the community knowing about it, with their proposed spendings for the next financial year up for comment.

The draft operational plan for 2017/2018 outlines what the council intend to spend $148 million on, including $13 million set aside for road repairs.

The plan underwent an expansion after the failed merger with Dungog, meaning more money can be spent within the Maitland council area.

Mayor Peter Blackmore is calling on the community to make comment and have a look at where their ratepayer dollar is going, as well as government funding.

Image Hunter Independant
"You've got to be able to show that you are listening to your community, that you are adding value for their rate dollar, and of course the fact that we did not have to merge meant that we could then concentrate more on the city and the residents of Maitland," said Peter Blackmore.

$55 million is derived from rate revenue with the money to be spent on new and existing infrastructure, community engagement and events and environmental activities.

Mayor Peter Blackmore says almost always "if people can see it, they will form an opinion. They're either in favour of it or they're not in favour of it. But they can see that we are putting money into projects".

It's the council's largest budget to date, also incorporating crime prevention strategies affordable housing and the Council's new website.

Feedback can be provided until May 15 and the documents can be viewed at

Motorbike rider lucky to escape high speed crash


A man is lucky to escape a high speed crash on his motorbike at Kurri Kurri yesterday.

The man was clocked travelling at 160 kilometers an hour on the Hunter Expressway yesterday afternoon by Highway Patrol officers carrying out speed enforcement.

Officers tried to catch up to the bike in the 110 kilometre an hour speed zone, but were unable to do so.

A short time later they found him seriously injured crashing into a guardrail on Barton Street.

The 28-year-old was taken to John Hunter Hospital with multiple leg fractures.

He's yet to be interviewed by police.

Man treated for burns to face and hands in Carrington


A man in his 30s is believed to be in a stable condition after suffering burns in an industrial accident this morning.

Just after 6am, paramedics were called to a business on Everett Street in Carrington where they treated a man for burns to his face and hands.

The man was reportedly splashed with acid from a 12 volt truck battery.

He was taken to John Hunter Hospital.

Double demerits in place until midnight tomorrow


School is back in session this week, meaning school zones also come back into force.

40km/h speed zones are in action between 8am - 9:30am, and between 2:30pm and 4pm.

It means if you're caught driving over the 40 kilometre limit before or after school, you'll  lose 8 demerit points off your licence.

Double demerits are still in force for the Anzac Day long weekend as well.

Operation Go Slow wraps up at midnight tomorrow night, with police out in force targeting speeding, mobile phone use, seatbelts, and motorcycle-helmet offences.

Newcastle MP calling for replacement family Court Judge


Federal Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon is stepping up pressure on the Turnbull Government to immediately appoint a replacement for a departed Newcastle family Court Judge.

She is calling on Attorney General George Brandis to appoint a replacement after Judge Matthew Myers left the city in February.

The already long wait for families to have matters heard and resolved in court has become even longer.

Cases can often involve domestic violence and Sharon Claydon says the delay in appointing a judge is increasing the trauma families are already experiencing.

"These are cases that often need quick and prompt settlements. When you've got violence involved in family law matters they're not cases that can be mediated out and nor should they be. You don't want to put a victim of family violence out with a perpetrator against their will."

She's also worried Judge Myers will be replaced with a "fly in, fly out" panel of judges that always change and aren't consistent.

"They need some certainty about where they're going to be living, and how the rest of their lives are taking shape. that's not an unreasonable expectation. All is put in jeopardy when the attorney general sits on his hands and doesn't appoint a replacement," said Sharon Claydon.