A FORMER councillor has called on the residents of Port Stephens to rise up and protest any merger with Newcastle City Council.
Brian Watson-Will, who served two terms as an Independent east ward councillor between 1991 and 2005, has also flagged the option of a legal challenge if it was available.
The 70-year-old former trade unionist remains active on the Tomaree peninsula. He’s a volunteer with Corlette-based halls and landcare groups, and presents a community radio program.
‘‘The current reporting mood seems that this forced amalgamation is a fait accompli,’’ he said.
‘‘Well, it’s not and it is now up to Port Stephens residents to tell Macquarie Street and IPART what they can do with the forced amalgamation.’’
Mr Watson-Will said that he felt for the many proud Port Stephens councillors, ratepayers and volunteers who have given many years of service.
‘‘The identity of Port Stephens and its proud legacy will be lost in an amalgamation with Newcastle.’’
He has also accused Newcastle council of wasting money that included $3.5 million to cut down the loved Laman Street fig trees.
‘‘The council’s record of mismanagement leaves thinking Australians speechless,’’ he said.
‘‘After having been thrifty and frugal, and good management over many decades, with cash, land and property assets, Port Stephens will become the ignored, poor cousins of Newcastle.
‘‘I suspect that Newcastle’s ongoing maintenance of ageing buildings will keep a merged council broke forever.
‘‘What is needed is for the residents of Port Stephens to gather at several public meetings and oppose this forced amalgamation.
“I’ll be there.’’