There’s no doubt 2020 was a challenging time for Novocastrians, with unprecedented social and economic impacts that continue to be felt with the coming of the new year.
But, while the seriousness of COVID-19 remains high on our radars, City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes feels a new sense of optimism and hope for 2021, with much to look forward to across the city.
And, with an eye on the next 12 months, she shares her “aspirations” with Newcastle Weekly readers in an inspiring opinion piece.
Last year was, in many ways, an incredibly successful one for our staff and community, who banded together despite the challenges presented by the pandemic to deliver projects that have improved our city.
In 2021, I look forward to that renewed sense of collaboration continuing as we work to progress a range of initiatives and projects that will meet the needs of our growing community.
We will continue to deliver our record $116 million capital works program, which was the centrepiece of City of Newcastle’s response to COVID-19 and is forecast to generate up to 700 local jobs and increase Newcastle’s economic output by $275 million.
The community will see significant projects across the city begin to take shape or reach completion in 2021, including the major redevelopment of No.1 Sportsground, which is scheduled to reopen towards the end of the year and will position the region to attract elite sporting events.
Construction of the Bathers Way project at South Newcastle Beach will continue as we work towards reactivating this area as a vibrant and attractive hub for visitors and residents with a wider accessible shared path, new kiosk, exercise equipment, skate bowl and terrain park, as well as improved beach access and accessible amenities.
Local centres across our Local Government Area (LGA) will also receive plenty of attention, with $14.2 million budgeted for suburban and city centre renewal, including works in the Hunter Street Mall and upgrades at Wallsend, Kotara, Merewether, Shortland and Stockton.
A sustained environmental focus will build on our achievements in this area in 2020, with $5 million to implement our recently-adopted Climate Action Plan, which sets new targets and outlines innovative and sustainable programs to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, while work will continue on the construction of an advanced organics recycling facility at Summerhill Waste Management Centre as part of our 25-year commitment to revolutionise food and garden waste treatment.
A long-held goal to create a flagship arts festival in Newcastle will also come to fruition in February when our inaugural New Annual brings the city centre to life over 10 days with a spectacular celebration of art and culture.
Robust community engagement will remain a priority as we seek to progress a range of projects, masterplans and plans of management for areas including Wickham, Wallsend and Carrington, as well as National Park, Newcastle Ocean Baths and the Newcastle Harbour Foreshore precinct.
Our shared vision for Newcastle 2030 guides the projects, activities and services we provide for residents and ratepayers.
I look forward to seeing more of this vision become a reality in the next 12 months as we work together to create a smart, liveable and sustainable global city.
- Nuatali Nelmes is the City of Newcastle Lord Mayor