Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie wins council support for project fund for roads, toilets and croquet court

Roads, toilets and a croquet court are among a $6 million splurge for Port Stephens Council set in concrete ahead of the September election.

The council resolved to take out the $6 million loan in February when the mayor Bruce MacKenzie pledged to spend $1.5 million to open up the Nelson Bay CBD to the foreshore. 

Just what the balance was to be spent on was only confirmed at Tuesday night's council meeting. 

Cr MacKenzie presented council with nine areas for spending, taken from council's strategic asset management plan - a wish list of items that had been awaiting funding.

The motion and allocation of funds was carried swiftly when there was seemingly no councillors who wished to talk to it.

Only when Cr MacKenzie declared it "carried" did Cr Geoff Dingle indicate he had wished to talk to item, with a gesture that he had pushed the button on his microphone to speak.

Cr MacKenzie was quick to reply, "it's already been carried, moving on". 

CHEERING: Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie was pleased to secure $6 million in funds for a wide spread of projects.

CHEERING: Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie was pleased to secure $6 million in funds for a wide spread of projects.

The itemised list includes spending at key sites across the local government area including $1 million for roads on the Tilligerry Peninsula, $500,000 for sports amenities at Karuah and $1.5 million for East Seaham Road.

Further, there's $400,000 for drainage work at Shoal Bay, $200,000 for a new skate park at Anna Bay, $100,000 for a toilet block on Tomaree sports ground and $300,000 for a croquet-meets-boccie court at Raymond Terrace.

"The detractors can go jump," Cr MacKenzie said on Wednesday.

"I was the only one who was bold enough to put this up six months ago, with road costs going up 10 per cent a year, we may as well do these things while we can loan the money at 4 per cent interest."

Despite the breadth of projects, Cr MacKenzie said he "would keep his opponents guessing" on the liklihood of standing for mayor.

"Whether I'm standing or not, this isn't an election ploy," he said.

"In almost 42 years of service to council I've never had to use something like this as an election ploy."

The breakdown of projects:

  • $1.5 million – Yacaaba Street extension;
  • $400,000 – Shoal Bay drainage works;
  • $1 million – Tilligerry roads including Russell Street, Beatty Boulevarde to President Wilson Walk rehabilitation, Purcell Avenue (turn head), Summerhouse to Tanilba Avenue rehabilitation, The Parkway North (turn head), Wemyss Way (lane sealing); 
  • $200,000 – Skate park at Anna Bay;
  • $300,000 – Croquet court and petanque (bocce) at Boomerang Park;
  • $500,000 –  Karuah sports amenities; 
  • $1.5 million – East Seaham Road; 
  • $500,000 – Swan Bay Road sealing;
  • $100,000 – Toilet block on Tomaree sports ground. 

“It’s a pretty even spread of funds,” Cr MacKenzie said.

“The Yacaaba Street extension will be good for the Nelson Bay CBD and sealing Swan Bay Road, well I’ve had representations from them about that.”

He was especially pleased with the $1 million for Tilligerry roads.

“This type of contribution’s not been heard of before,” he said.

“There are some bad roads there, we’ve been slowly eating into but this will go even further.”

Likewise with East Seaham Road.

“It’s gravel road,” he said.

“I want people from Clarence Town to come and shop at Raymond Terrace and sealing that road will hopefully stop them from going to Maitland.”

Then there was the toilets at Tomaree and Karuah sports fields. The latter “like something out of the stone age”.

He also expected the $400,000 for Shoal Bay drainage to meet a warm reception. Horrace and Rigney streets have experienced flooding in recent times, most notably the April 2015 storm.

“The Shoal Bay people will be over the moon,” Cr MacKenzie said.