Port Stephens Council will ask NSW Government to reclassify proposed Fingal Bay as a state road

Fingal Bay.
Fingal Bay.

Port Stephens Council will ask that the proposed Fingal Bay link be reclassified as a ‘State Road’ as the costs are estimated to run into the ‘10s of millions’.

The council will make the request of the state government after councillors upheld a notice of motion from Cr Jaimie Abbott at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“It’s going to cost 10s of millions,” she said. “It’s beyond the capacity of local government to build it.”

The doubled-headed motion also asks the Premier Gladys Berejiklian to “activate NSW Government funding for the duplication of Nelson Bay Road”. This would honour past premier Mike Baird’s 2015 pledge of $70 million by 2019 though it would not cover a full duplication as the Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald conceded in 2017.

“Nelson Bay Road has been promised previously and I’m calling on the Premier and her government to deliver on a promise. It’s as simple as that,” Cr Abbott said.

The mayor Ryan Palmer backed the motion.

“In talking about this I think that we’re all in furious agreement that this needs to happen,” he said.

“It’s very important that we have the full duplication. I agree, we need this to be a State Road to make the Fingal Bay link a reality.”

The debate at Tuesday night’s council meeting saw Cr Abbott and Cr Giacomo Arnott trade political barbs.

Cr Arnott wanted the resolution to note the state government’s back flip on the road documented. Cr Abbott noted that the Port Stephens MP had also promised to build the road and that it hadn’t happened, something Cr Arnott said was “impossible” as the Coalition “has the keys to the castle”.

The deputy mayor Chris Doohan said regardless of the politics, the projects needed to happen.

“Listening to the politics it’s like two bald men fighting over a comb,” he said.

“The priority for me is the Fingal link. Duplicating Nelson Bay Road is only shifting the bottle neck further down the road.”