Greens call on Port Corporation to respond to community fears for Mayfield East School

The Greens candidate for Newcastle, John Sutton, today called on the Newcastle Port Corporation to publicly respond to fears in the Mayfield community that Mayfield East School may have to be relocated due to the impact of the container terminal proposed for the former BHP steelworks site.

The fears derive from comments allegedly made by a senior Port Corporation executive officer at a recent community consultation session at the school, and reported in a media release from the Correct Planning and Consultation for Mayfield group on 17 March 2011.

“Like many in the general community, The Greens have supported the container terminal development on the proviso that concerns about associated local transport impacts are resolved, and that the development includes infrastructure improvements that allow much more freight to be transported by rail,” Mr Sutton said.

“But local transport impacts must be addressed by developing new road and rail infrastructure for the future development of the whole former steelworks site, not by outrageous suggestions about moving a local school that has existed since 1858.

“If these comments were made, the Port Corporation must immediately clarify whether it is seriously considering such measures. “If they are not, they should apologise for the comments and make it absolutely clear to the Mayflied community that the future development of the site will occur in a way that will not compromise the school or any other local community facilities. “If the Port Corporation really is considering such options, they risk losing general community support for the container terminal development itself,” Mr Sutton said.

Mr Sutton said that The Greens supported the community campaign for the construction of road and rail infrastructure alongside the Hunter River from Mayfield to Sandgate, in conjunction with the construction of a western freight rail by-pass that would keep freight trains away from residential areas and free capacity for new local passenger rail services.

For further information or comment, please contact John Sutton (Greens candidate for Newcastle), on 4969 2668 or 0411 154 004. John Sutton’s campaign blog is at: http://newcastle2011.blogspot.com

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