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Council hopefuls promise Waratah Park revitalisation

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It’s utilised by many individuals and sporting groups but, over the years, Waratah Park has fallen by the wayside in terms of maintenance.

So much so, graffiti adorns the scoreboard, the facilities are in dire need of repair and a general paint job wouldn’t go astray.

However, a re-elected Newcastle Labor team is promising to oversee a comprehensive precinct master plan for the revitalisation of the historic venue in the next council term.

“Waratah Park has a real sense of history and long-term residents of Waratah, Mayfield and Georgetown have fond memories of it as an important space for the community to gather for recreation and leisure,” Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said.

“With this commitment from Newcastle Labor councillors, I’m confident it can become an even better public space for locals to enjoy.”

The group is vowing to consult with the relevant sporting clubs to upgrade a number of areas, including the Waratah Oval grandstand amenities and changerooms, to encourage further growth of women’s sport, too.

They’ll also explore options to enhance public green open spaces comprising the historic garden beds and gazebo, connectivity and accessibility throughout the park, upgraded lighting for community safety, playground improvements, the appropriate management of dogs, and informal sporting options like the provision of basketball and wall-ball courts. 

City of Newcastle Ward 3 councillor, and Liveable Cities Advisory Committee member, Peta Winney-Baartz said it was an important project for council.

“Our Strategic Sports Plan has identified options to improve Waratah Park, including the delivery of upgraded lighting to improve year-round utilisation by local sporting codes, and master-planning the significant expanse of well-utilised playing fields,” she explained.

The Waratah-Mayfield District Cricket Club is one of the main sporting groups, which utilises Waratah Park. Photo: Rod Thompson

“The clubs that make use of Waratah’s sporting facilities have been leading the growth of women’s sport, as well.

“A re-elected Labor council will ensure the amenities are brought up to the standards our female athletes deserve.

“The grandstand presents a significant opportunity to continue the rise of quality fixtures at Waratah Park, too.

“So, we’ll work with the clubs to upgrade change facilities and toilets, storage and the outdated canteen facilities.”

Cr Clausen said the community would have a chance to help guide the enhancement of the green open public spaces and improve connectivity from Waratah Train Station through to Georgetown and the Waratah Village Shopping Centre. 

“Waratah Park is experiencing significant growth in usage by local families embracing our city’s green open spaces like never before due to COVID-19,” the Newcastle Labor campaign spokesperson added.

“We’re committed to consulting with the community to develop a comprehensive masterplan and scope of works to improve the area for all park users.

“When I visit Waratah Park, I appreciate the sense of community and the amazing potential of the green open spaces.

“But, they could be further enhanced by upgrading the playground areas, exploring options for informal sporting activities and ensuring appropriate management of off-leash dog activity in the park.

“Connectivity through improved walkways and pavement, provision of upgraded lighting and improving access to the park will further encourage an active lifestyle for families.”

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