Port Stephens Council agrees to $6m loan for Yacaaba Street extension

STANDING PROUD: The mayor, Cr Bruce MacKenzie, won support for a $6 million loan to build the Yacaaba Street extension at the first council meeting of 2017. Picture: Sam Norris

STANDING PROUD: The mayor, Cr Bruce MacKenzie, won support for a $6 million loan to build the Yacaaba Street extension at the first council meeting of 2017. Picture: Sam Norris

The long-awaited Yacaaba Street extension will go ahead this year.

The missing link between Magnus Street and Victoria Parade has been the subject of on-going investigations and has been discussed in various strategies to lift the Nelson Bay CBD.

Until now, it has not had the funding. Port Stephens Council resolved to change that at its first meeting back for the year.

The mayor, Cr Bruce MacKenzie, proposed a $6 million loan to guarantee a start this year.  

“If I hadn’t have moved this it could have been five off,” he said, after the meeting.

“I have no doubt by Christmas, though I’d love to see it completed by September 9, the election.”

The advantages are expected to be numerous.

Cr MacKenzie said the thoroughfare would create a view corridor between the foreshore and CBD – he even expected more people would park at the marina and walk back to dine and shop.

“I’ve timed it, it’s only a four minute walk,” he said.

“Every now and then I come and walk along Magnus Street. I personally want to see this area come to life.

“We could possibly even replace the bitumen with paving to give it a lift.”

FUTURE VISION: A concept drawing from 2014.

FUTURE VISION: A concept drawing from 2014.

The council considered Cr MacKenzie’s notice of motion on Tuesday night, which Cr John Nell seconded. Cr MacKenzie asked that the council take out a loan to be repaid at $1 million a year from Newcastle property investments.

The council’s corporate services division has recommended this would require “further modelling”.

“My idea is to draw the money from those Newcastle investments,” Cr MacKenzie said.

“There’s no doubt about us borrowing it.”

Nelson Bay NOW welcomed the decision.

“It’s fantastic that a few visionaries have finally been vindicated and that this project is now funded,” convener Ryan Palmer said.

“We look forward to seeing it in the new financial year.”

A series of land purchases have paved the way for the project.

The council purchased 106 Magnus Street at the turn of the millennium for about $700,000.

In 2012, the council bought land between Magnus Street and Victoria Parade, to advance plans to connect the town centre with the foreshore. The shop front at 108 Magnus Street will be leveled to make way for the road.

Five options to extend the street were presented to the council during a February 2014 ordinary meeting, with councillors voting on concept five as the most favourable. This  would see traffic travel in a northerly one-way direction towards the Victoria Parade, from Yacaaba Street.

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