The Greens candidate for Ward 3, Nevenka Bareham, today called for a systematic and cooperative approach for identifying and re-use of deteriorating local public buildings and sites in the Newcastle area.
Ms Bareham said that she had recently been contacted by a local resident about the “demolition by neglect” of parts of the state-owned former Waratah Boys School and former Waratah Police Station in Georgetown Rd, Waratah.
After inspecting the site, Ms Bareham said that it was clear that one of the buildings needed urgent attention to ensure its structural integrity.
Ms Bareham said that at least two of the buildings seem destined to become classic examples of how potentially useful public facilities are – perhaps deliberately – allowed to deteriorate to provide an excuse to eventually sell them off.
“It’s disgraceful that public facilities are allowed to go to deteriorate in this way, when there is such a high level of demand for space by community-based groups,” Ms Bareham said.
“Areas such as Waratah have lost their community centres over the years, while men’s sheds and other local community-interest organisations are desperate for a base.
“It’s galling for many residents to see the state government squander valuable public money cutting our rail line for the benefit of the big end of town, while neglecting the host of important little things that would really improve the lives of ordinary people in our local communities,” Ms Bareham said.
She said that – if elected on Saturday – she would urge the council to work cooperatively with the state government to identify all unused and under-used public facilities in the council area and call for expressions of interest from community groups with ideas about how they could use them.
“If Renew Newcastle can do this with local private property owners and small business start-ups, a more community-focussed council should be able to initiate something similar with public sector owners and non-profit community groups,” she said.
For more information or comment, contact Nevenka Bareham (Greens Ward 3 candidate for Newcastle Council) on 0431 211 586.