A café and community facility at Newcastle’s favourite nature reserve and an improved cycling link between the University of Newcastle and the city centre have received almost $1.2 million from the NSW Government.
Close to $900,000 has been allocated for a new community facility for Blackbutt Reserve, with City of Newcastle committed to funding an adjoining café. An additional $300,000 has been provided for the installation of traffic signals on Maud Street in Waratah, as part of the broader University to City Centre cycleway project.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes welcomed the Resources for Regions funding for these important projects, which will provide a range of benefits for the community.
“This week’s funding announcement will enable City of Newcastle to continue to deliver improvements at our city’s much-loved Blackbutt Reserve, through the construction of a purpose-built café and community facility,” Cr Nelmes said.
“As the green heart of our city, Blackbutt Reserve welcomes countless locals and visitors each year who take advantage of the picturesque walking trails, unique wildlife exhibits and family-friendly playgrounds.
“The café and community facility, which are currently in initial planning stages and will come to fruition within the next few years, will further enhance the visitor experience and complement the existing native animal exhibits and recreation areas.
“The ground floor café will include visitor information, indoor and outdoor dining areas, with the potential to be commercially leased. A new multi-function community education space will sit above the café with the capability to deliver environmental education and small events.
“The new building will be designed to suit the unique environment at Blackbutt’s Carnley Avenue Reserve and will replace the existing kiosk, which was installed as a temporary facility.
“When I was first elected to represent Ward 3 in 2008, there was a proposal to remove the staff, animals and animal shelters from Blackbutt Reserve, and to subdivide and sell off land around the Reserve for residential development. These proposals reflected the poor financial position of the Council at the time.
“Working with the Blackbutt Support Group and local community, I fought against these proposals, which were ultimately overturned. Together with the community, I led the development of a Masterplan that prioritised funding of $9 million over 10 years.
“As Lord Mayor, I’ve ensured the City’s financial sustainability to allow us to continue to provide great public services like Blackbutt. I made sure that Blackbutt had the Priority Project status it deserved and have focused the City’s resources to continue to improve and upgrade Blackbutt with new playgrounds at both Carnley Avenue and Richley Reserve, new boardwalks, a new animal arena, new amenities and disability access. Now we will add a cafe and community facility.”
Cr Nelmes said the University to City Centre cycleway project will improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists travelling between the University of Newcastle’s Callaghan Campus and the city, on a key route identified under the City’s Cycling Plan.
“We’ve also secured funding for new traffic signals to be installed on Maud Street, which will significantly improve safety and enhance connection from the suburbs through to the city,” Cr Nelmes said.
“City of Newcastle is committed to ensuring Newcastle is a cycling and pedestrian-friendly city, and the University to City Centre cycleway will provide another crucial link in our cycleway network.”
The two City of Newcastle projects are among 15 projects to share in $5.6 million in funding under round eight of the Resources for Regions program, which aims to support mining-impacted communities in regional NSW by providing economic opportunities, improved amenity and positive social outcomes.