'If Nelson Bay can get a $5M loan, why can't Raymond Terrace?'

Cr Giacomo Arnott
Cr Giacomo Arnott

If Nelson Bay can get a $5 million loan for its CBD, west ward councillor Giacomo Arnott believes that Raymond Terrace deserves an equal share for its town centre.

"The time for neglect is over," Cr Arnott declared. "Nelson Bay has had the benefit of a council that pumps endless funds into it for decades, it's time for Raymond Terrace to get its fair share.

"That's why I've moved a motion [at council's February 23 meeting], requesting that council take out a $5 million loan for Raymond Terrace's CBD. Any councillor who fails to support this motion should be called out for failing to support Raymond Terrace. We are the economic, civic and cultural centre of Port Stephens."

Cr Anrott said it was not fair that Raymond Terrace would only receive a little of $1 million for its CBD revitalisation, when Nelson Bay receives a whopping $5 million loan for its public domain plan.

His February 23 notice of motion called on the council to borrow $5 million over a maximum of 10 years to fund the beginning of the Raymond Terrace Public Domain Plan; and to repay the loan from the Smart Parking revenue collected in Nelson Bay.

At the February 8 meeting, Port councillors adopted a mayoral notice of motion to apply for $1 million in grant funding under the NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program and $350,000 from the NSW Your High Street Program to carry out upgrades to Raymond Terrace roads and streetscape. Councillors also committed to using $200,000 from a Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program to fund roadworks on William Street.

Mayor Palmer said that there were many residents and businesses who had invested in Raymond Terrace and that it was time for the council to start investing in the town. "People have been waiting a long time for these improvements but we need the dollars. Unlike Nelson Bay, we don't have a funding source like Smart Parking to put back into the CBD."

"This council doesn't sit on our strategies - we need to keep advocating for Raymond Terrace and applying for grants to make these changes happen."

Raymond Terrace Bowling Club manager Jason Stokes said that he would like to see more money and infrastructure in the business community.

"The difference in the funding between the towns of Nelson Bay and Raymond Terrace seems rather one-sided to me. The Terrace main street needs an upgrade and the town centre has some serious parking issues. We have medical centre clients parking in our club carpark."

Former Tomaree Business Chamber convener Peter Clough felt that the Raymond Terrace business community had to go through the pain to achieve its own gain.

"In Nelson Bay, the chamber put in a huge amount of effort [and pain] over many years to finally attract revenue to upgrade the Nelson Bay CBD. Surely you cannot justify any thought of using money raised in one CBD [and when it was clearly outlined in council documentation that any Bay parking revenue would be 'ploughed' back into that CBD] to be used to help another CBD."

The TRRA said that the specific needs of Raymond Terrace, like Nelson Bay, would benefit from a range of public domain improvements. "Given that those parking in Raymond Terrace are much less likely to be visitors from outside Port Stephens, there is an even greater need for a proper business case prior to taking a decision to implement Smart Parking," media officer Geoff Washington said.

The Raymond Terrace and Heatherbrae strategy can be accessed here.

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