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  • intouch Magazine

Community News - August 2023




Net zero carbon emissions, renewable energy initiatives, more cycleways, connected wildlife corridors and sustainable construction materials are part of how City of Newcastle (CN) intends to create an environmental legacy for future generations.

The vision has been outlined in CN's draft Newcastle Environment Strategy, which is set to be tabled ahead of a proposed four-week public exhibition period.

Designed around the three priority areas of climate change, nature-based solutions and the circular economy, the Strategy sets out a 10-year environmental roadmap for a sustainable Newcastle, with 15 key actions identified to be delivered within the first four years.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Strategy would ensure CN continues its decades-long action and advocacy to protect and improve our environment.

"Newcastle has a well-earned reputation as a leader in local government when it comes to protecting our precious natural environment while also investing in progressive actions to ensure our city is more sustainable," Cr Nelmes said.

"Through this Strategy, we are sending a message to our community that we remain strongly committed to protecting and enhancing Newcastle’s natural environment today, and for future generations of Novocastrians."

The Strategy is based on a shared community vision for our environment, informed by more than 4,500 pieces of feedback from over 2,600 community members and environmental experts received during the Community Strategic Plan engagement program.

It sets out the initial actions to be delivered by CN or in partnership with state and federal governments, business and the community by 2027.

This includes transitioning CN's vehicles, plant and equipment to electric-powered or low emissions alternatives and expanding our urban forest to create connected green corridors for iconic, threatened and pollinator species.

Other actions include working with local traditional custodians to integrate indigenous knowledge into how we care for and manage our land and increasing the use of recovered materials and sustainable product alternatives in CN operations and construction works.

Once the Strategy is put on exhibition, community members will be given a chance to comment on the Strategy via the Have Your Say page on CN's website and will be invited to enter a free photography competition designed to capture the different ways people value Newcastle's environment.


Millions of dollars worth of sports field upgrades across Lake Macquarie are set to reap benefits for a multitude of sports codes and participants, from junior ranks to senior teams.

The improvements include upgrades of 25 changerooms at 12 sports grounds in the city, making them more accessible and usable for junior and senior female participants.

Lights have been installed at four sites as part of a $923,000 project to extend the windows of opportunity for teams to train and play at Douglas Street Oval, Dora Creek, Cooranbong Sports Complex, Finnan Oval, Blackalls Park and Lenaghan Oval, Belmont North.

Also in Belmont, Lake Macquarie City Council Community Assets Delivery Coordinator, Brent Wellham said construction was underway to realise the vision set out in the Belmont Sports Fields Master Plan, covering Barton No.2 Field and Lumsden Oval.

“This precinct is the city’s largest dedicated sports area, and the Stage One works will create a facility capable of hosting regional level competition,” he said.

“The fields are already used for rugby league, soccer, cricket and baseball, but the upgrades will pave the way for other codes, including AFL, to be based there.”

“We’ve spoken at length to sports clubs already using the site to help inform the design and prioritise work.”

Meanwhile, the $9.5 million overhaul of Croudace Bay Sports Complex is nearing completion, with new cricket nets, netball courts and amenities now operational. “This is a growing part of our city, and the sports complex is a focal point for sports and physical activity,” he said.

“The upgrades there, and at other sports fields throughout the city, reflect growing demand in our community for quality facilities that cater to a range of sporting codes, ages and abilities.”

The various upgrades have been jointly funded by Council, the NSW Government and the Federal Government.

Council's Community Assets Delivery Coordinator Brent Wellham on the recently completed rugby league field at Croudace Bay Sports Complex.


Maitland City Council is set to conduct an electronic survey of the region’s entire road network throughout this month, using cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology to see where road maintenance efforts are most needed.

Council has engaged engineering firm SHEPHERD to complete the survey using their Road Asset Condition Assessment System (RACAS), which will involve cameras assessing sealed and unsealed roads.

RACAS captures high-definition images every 10 metres, as well as GPS and roughness data, to electronically produce a condition rating of the pavement while the AI software automatically logs road defects.

Group Manager Infrastructure and Works, David Moloney, said the road survey data collected would indicate when and where Council needs to focus its road maintenance efforts.

“Our aim is to continue delivering safe and accessible roads for our community, now and into the future,” said Mr Moloney.

‘This survey technology has been designed specifically for local government road managers and uses AI to automatically identify and record high-priority safety defects.

‘It takes the guesswork out of our future works program and ensures we get the best value for money from our ongoing investment in maintaining local transport assets.’

The data captured in this road survey will be displayed in an online mapping environment to show the condition of all roads that Council owns and maintains.

As the RACAS survey vehicle travels at the same speed as normal traffic, no disruptions are expected for residents or motorists during the survey. Work is scheduled to take place throughout August.


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