Pru Goward, Minister for Planning has come to town with promises to placate Newcastle. Having put her foot in her mouth, by letting the public know that there would be development on the rail corridor once those pesky trains have been removed, she is now trying to pull her foot back out.
Trouble is Pru it is like trying to put the genie back in the bottle – it just isn’t possible, because truth will out, as the saying goes.
The truth you were exposing is already available. Save Our Rail hasn’t made it up nor has it been involved in “conspiracy theories.” The words and images are there in the documents from HDC, The Newcastle Alliance and the brochures from the earlier GPT proposal.
From its inception HDC, then Honeysuckle Development Corporation has outlined in its “Approved Scheme” the intention to develop on the rail land and identified Newcastle Station as the prize. What wasn’t always apparent was the fact that the rail line and a section of Wickham are the only parts of Newcastle not undermined and this is significant for development value.
John Tate addressed a Property Council meeting in 2002 at which he gave advice to the effect that they shouldn’t alert the public by talking about building on the rail corridor. “We must all say that the rail corridor must stay,” he said. The tactic that followed was a series of pictures of a green corridor, some like the Hanging Gardens.
The next tactic to win the public around was to cause confusion over the rail line itself and the type of vehicle running along it. So we have been treated to images of pretty little rail carriages labelled “light rail.” The fact is that “light rail” refers to the type of rolling stock and whether light or “heavy” they run on tracks. There is no reason we can’t have pretty little tram carriages running on the current line and no reason it can’t be made to look attractive. As at Wahroongah.
Save Our Rail in its Westrans proposal advocated for the use of smaller cars to run shorter distances between existing services for added frequency. The vehicles would not be dissimilar to the Hunter Cars, manufactured locally by United Goninan.
Save Our Rail welcomes the announcement of an intention for a two day workshop, despite it being “consultation” after the decision has been made. This doesn’t seem to be very useful, especially if as in the transport consultation it is by invitation only, and limited to one from any group other than the Property Council which gets unlimited access.
Let’s get real Pru and have a true consultation with the chance to alter decisions if there is evidence of poor planning, or no planning.
Let the public in on the real intentions for the use of the huge amount of public funding being allocated to a project that may not be a proper use of that money, “our” money. Let the public have the opportunity to have a say on its use. It seems Newcastle is getting a second rate tram line and the Hunter Valley communities, nothing.
For further information or comment please contact:-
President Save Our Rail NSW Inc
Mobile 0408 618 198