Port Stephens MP Kate Washington has challenged the mayor Bruce MacKenzie to fix his own roads before he commits ratepayers to fixing Dungog’s pot holes.
Cr MacKenzie won support from Port Stephens Council last month to write to the Premier Gladys Berejiklian and urge her to reconsider the Dungog merger because “it’s the right thing to do”.
Ms Washington said a merger would further delay any Port Stephens roads program.
“Port Stephens’ ratepayers shouldn’t be picking up the bill for fixing Dungog’s roads when council hasn’t even sealed our own roads,” she said.
“The mayor needs to do his job, look after the residents of Port Stephens and fix our roads first before campaigning to fix other people’s issues.”
Port Stephens has 60 kilometres of unsealed roads. Meanwhile Dungog has a road work backlog worth $40 million.
Cr MacKenzie said preparations were already underway for work at Swan Bay. The project, he said, would use part of a $6 million loan the council authorised last month – a loan he wants the council’s Newcastle investments to service.
“Irrespective of what happens with a merger I was instrumental in that $6 million loan and part of that will help substantially with sealing Swan Bay roads and I can assure you it’s not from [Ms Washington’s] politicking,” he said.
“And East Seaham Road is being tarred as we speak to bring people to Raymond Terrace to shop.”
Cr MacKenzie said Port Stephens owed Dungog.
“All I have done is be faithful to Dungog,” he said.
“We asked them to come with us, save us from Newcastle. Now it’s been dropped, I’m not about to cut them free and let them drift away.”
Ms Washington met with Swan Bay residents who live on one gravel road, on Wednesday, when they handed her a petition.
Roads which remain unsealed in Port Stephens include:
· Swan Bay Rd, Swan Bay
· Dunns Creek Rd, Duns Creek
· Holdom Rd, Karuah
· Wighton St, Seaham
· Six Mile Creek Rd, Eagleton
· Clarence St, Wallalong
Ms Washington said people should be very cautious about a merger.
“Given the mayor’s failure to deliver locally, how can Dungog residents believe any of his commitments to help them out? Dungog council and its ratepayers should proceed with caution.”