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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Lake Macquarie fast-tracks $3m worth of projects

Lake Macquarie City Council will keep the region’s economic wheels turning in 2021, with $3 million worth of projects being fast-tracked.

Ten playgrounds, multiple shared paths stretching from Cameron Park to Cardiff and several intersection upgrades in Morisset, Windale and Charlestown are among 49 community infrastructure ventures, funded by development contributions.

And, all are scheduled to be accelerated in order to provide continued employment.

Lake Macquarie City mayor Kay Fraser said the opening of new playgrounds at Taylor Park, Barnsley, and Marks Oval, Floraville, were two of 10 additional recreational areas being constructed across the city since council responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marks Oval, Floraville

“These projects are strategically important to the city and offer considerable investment and public benefit,” she explained.

“While some have a timeline of up to 18 months to construction, 10 playground projects were fast-tracked in the initial response to the pandemic.”

Council’s acceleration initiative was made possible through collaboration with the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) and the Property Council of Australia on a review of its works programs associated with council’s Development Contributions Plans.

This review work is identifying opportunities to hasten the delivery of projects within the Development Contributions Plans, while also providing new chances for external consultants to deliver professional services to council.

These combined programs include nearly 50 projects, generating at least $3 million of expenditure on top of council’s 2020-2021 Operational Plan, with an expected pipeline of up to $40 million worth of projects funded by development contributions.

Some of them are already progressing to “shovel-ready” so they can be delivered in future operational plans.

“Lake Macquarie City Council’s refreshing approach to form a working group with industry to get moving on delivering local community projects is delivering real benefits,” UDIA Hunter Chapter chairman Geoffrey Rock said.

“Council has demonstrated how engaging with industry expertise can help local government deliver for their residents.

“Fast-tracking the design and construction of community infrastructure projects allows for new jobs and construction work to continue where possible.”

Taylor Park, Barnsley

But, it’s more than just a new footpath or playground for the community, according to Cr Fraser.

“Building community infrastructure promotes growth and supports thriving communities,” she said.

“Every time we build a new community asset we’re supporting jobs from start to finish, whether that’s an architect to design it, a concreting plant to provide the materials and a cleaner or mower to maintain it.

“We must keep up the momentum and move beyond short-term stimulus with projects that will deliver growth and jobs in the medium term.

“And, this acceleration program does just that.”

See a full list of the fast-track projects at https://www.lakemac.com.au/Projects/Fast-track-projects

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