Books delivered direct to your door

Avid readers will be able to turn the pages of their favourite books once again following the launch of a new Newcastle Libraries service, Library 2U, which will see books, movies and music delivered to the homes of members.
The initiative ensures Newcastle Libraries members can continue to connect with library services during the current stay at home orders, following the temporary closure of all branches when lockdown began in early-August.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that Novocastrians love connecting with their libraries and the service will keep the community informed and entertained during a trying time.
“With more than 96,000 members, and loans reaching 1.3 million in the last year, it is clear that our community values the services and connection that the city’s libraries offer,” Cr Nelmes said.
“Everyone loves the feeling of being transported into the world of their favourite book or movie and although we can’t yet welcome people back inside branches, we’re pleased to be able to launch Library 2U.
“All it takes is a quick phone call or completing an online form and library staff will consider your preferences and hand-pick a selection of reading, watching or listening options, which will arrive at your door via contactless delivery the following business day.”
Library 2U is available now to all Newcastle Libraries members residing in the Newcastle Local Government Area. Up to five items will be selected for members based on their preferences and members can keep loans until return chutes reopen.
A click and collect service may also soon be available following recent changes to the Public Health Order allowing libraries to facilitate collections. The Newcastle Libraries click and collect service is expected to commence in early October.
Membership to Newcastle Libraries and the Library 2U service is free and can be arranged by phoning 4974 5300 or visiting newcastle.nsw.gov.au/library
While library branches are closed members can access the eLibrary for a range of eBooks, eAudiobooks, music, movies, magazines and newspapers, by visiting newcastle.nsw.gov.au/library or downloading the Newcastle Libraries app.
Newcastle Libraries membership and loan statistics:

  • Total membership is 96,603
  • In the last year Newcastle Libraries have gained almost 9,000 new members.
  • There were over 11,000 library app downloads in the last year
  • In the last financial year the library has celebrated 1.3 million loans in total across its physical and eLibrary selection.
  • Fiction loans account for 55% of total loans
  • eLibrary loans account for just under 40% of all loans
  • Within the eLibrary, 40% are eBooks and eAudiobooks, 20% of loans are music, movies and TV, 20% are magazines and newspapers and remainder are online learning and research databases.

No. 1 Sportsground set to celebrate centenary with a makeover

Newcastle could host elite cricket and AFL matches as soon as 2022 with the redevelopment of Newcastle’s No. 1 Sportsground drawing closer to completion.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the redevelopment will solidify Newcastle’s position as a world-class events city, as well as benefit local sportspeople who play at National Park’s No. 1 Sportsground regularly.
“No. 1 Sportsground was designed and constructed in 1921, officially opening in 1922, and in that time the venue has hosted a variety of sporting and non-sporting events,” Cr Nelmes said.
“It has been over ten years since the last international match was held at No. 1 Sportsground, when our Australian women’s team defeated South Africa in the 2009 ICC Women’s World Cup.
“The redevelopment, which coincides with the venue’s centenary, will deliver regular users of the ground improved facilities, and provide our city with an economic boost through the attraction of major sporting events.
“Novocastrians love their sport and I’m really looking forward to No. 1 Sportsground hosting the Australian Deaf Games cricket fixtures in April 2022, as well as the possibility of hosting pre-season AFL fixtures and regional Big Bash League matches right here in Newcastle.”
Work on the new lighting is nearing completion and turf has been laid with the iconic Newcastle venue set to reopen in 2022 after the new turf has had a chance to establish. Preliminary design work is also underway for a future upgrade of the player amenities.
The makeover includes a rebuilt playing surface with increased playing field size to achieve the minimum standard required for first grade AFL and elite cricket matches, lighting upgrade to enable evening fixtures, a new sub-soil irrigation and drainage system, new player dug out benches, construction of seven new cricket wickets, new sight screens, new oval perimeter fencing and additional bleacher seating to almost double the seated capacity from 400 to 790.
No. 1 Sportsground is located on the corner of Parry and Union Streets in the iconic National Park, one of Newcastle’s largest and oldest sportsgrounds and open space reserves. It boasts facilities for a range of sports including netball, AFL, cricket, rugby, football, athletics and croquet, and caters for casual sport and play through basketball courts and parklands.
Other work currently underway within National Park includes the construction of an additional four basketball courts on the former tennis court site near the corner of National Park and Parry Streets, along with playing field upgrades at No. 5 and No. 6 Sportsgrounds which will improve the playing surface of both grounds and allow for effective management of the flood storage capacity of National Park.
For more information on the No. 1 Sportsground redevelopment please visit the project page by clicking here.

Two charged following inquiries into alleged cannabis cultivation – Hunter Region

Two men have been charged with drug supply offences after a large amount of cannabis was located across the Hunter and Lake Macquarie areas yesterday.
In July this year, detectives from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District established Strike Force Jinker to investigate the commercial supply of cannabis in the Port Stephens and lower Hunter areas.
Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives – with assistance from Lake Macquarie Police District – executed three search warrants at Beresfield, Vacy and Jewells yesterday (Monday 20 September 2021).
Investigators located and dismantled hydroponic setups in varying sizes at all three locations; seizing 162 plants and 5kg of cannabis bud.
Police also seized drug paraphernalia, nun chucks, ammunition and firearm parts.
A 67-year-old man was arrested at the Beresfield home. He was charged with take part enhanced indoor cultivate cannabis commercial.
He was granted conditional bail to appear at Maitland Local Court on Wednesday 13 October 2021.
A 48-year-old man was arrested during the Belmont search warrant. He was charged with supply prohibited drug and cultivate cannabis indictable quantity.
He was granted conditional bail to appear at Belmont Local Court on Wednesday 13 October 2021.
Investigations under Strike Force Jinker are continuing, with further arrests anticipated.

Car park demolition to reveal first glimpse of stunning city to harbour view corridor

City of Newcastle will commence demolition of the 59-year-old Mall Car Park at 92 King Street, with works scheduled to be completed by late-January 2022.
A structural assessment of the seven-storey car park was conducted in March 2020 and subsequently closed due to public safety concerns.
City of Newcastle Director of Governance David Clarke said with demolition work now underway to remove the aging Mall Car Park, every effort will be made to ensure that disruption to nearby businesses and residents is minimised during the process.
“During demolition, there will be increased noise from machinery and frequent truck movements in and around the work zone. Demolition vehicle access will be via King Street, into Thorn and Laing Streets. Vehicle access to Laing Street will be maintained for most of the project duration with some road closures during strategic works,” Mr Clarke said.
“Pedestrian access around the site will be maintained with temporary fencing in place, to ensure community safety. Environmental monitoring and controls to manage dust, noise and vibration will be undertaken by the site contractor.
“With work now underway, it’s exciting to see a first glimpse of the stunning view corridor that brings to life a long-held strategic vision of City of Newcastle and the NSW Government to connect the city to the harbour by opening up the lines of sight.”
The vision proposes to link Christ Church Cathedral to the Harbour via a grand staircase. Accessibility for the community is a key consideration to ensure everyone can share and enjoy the proposed space, in addition to retaining 380 public car parking spaces for the community to utilise.
“Preserving the view corridor between the harbour and the Cathedral has the full support of The Property Council and Urban Design Review Panel, to turn a long-held concept into a landmark public space for the city,” Mr Clarke said.
Phase one of the City’s East End revitalisation is well underway, with Hunter Street currently closed to upgrade the streetscape, stormwater infrastructure and underground communication lines. Most of the work along Wolfe Street is complete and works have also started on Perkins Street.
The project is one of the City’s four Priority Projects and phase one is on track to be completed by February 2022.
Visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/eastend for the most up-to-date information.

Help shape public art in Newcastle

City of Newcastle is seeking community-minded art, design and architecture experts to help advise on the development of public art that reflects Newcastle’s history, culture and community.
Councillors voted to expand the expertise of the City’s Public Art Reference Group (PARG) by appointing five external members who are professionals in their fields, including an expert with Awabakal or Worimi Indigenous cultural knowledge and a specialist in heritage.
The PARG provides leadership on all aspects of public art, from advising on the commissioning of new art proposals to ensuring transparent commissioning processes.
Councillor and PARG Chair Carol Duncan said public art humanises urban spaces and the built environment and by expanding the PARG with external arts professionals, public art will continue to play a major role in the city’s transformation.
“Art contributes to our wellbeing in public spaces, reflects our values as a community, and gives our spaces meaning and the opportunity to be unique. It provides opportunities for artists to create, for visitors and residents to enjoy, and to build an even greater economic contribution to the city by way of the value of our arts and cultural organisations,” Cr Duncan said.
Since 2018, the PARG has considered a number of public art proposals for the private domain related to development applications in the Newcastle CBD including the Seed Pod and Lyrique Lane Light Chandelier on Hunter Street, and Indigenous murals and native artworks on Hannel Street in Wickham.
PARG member Councillor John MacKenzie said a key focus for the group is public art associated with development applications.
“Helping applicants meet the 1% public art contribution and ensuring those funds are spent on incorporating artwork reflective of Newcastle’s culture and heritage is an important role of the PARG,” Cr MacKenzie said.
“Ensuring we plan a healthy funding stream for the commissioning and maintenance of public art in the city is also a core focus in order to maintain these public investments.”
PARG member Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said there is no shortage of artistic expertise in Newcastle to contribute to the advisory committee.
“Newcastle is home to more artists per capita than any other city in Australia, and boasts a thriving creative arts hub,” Cr Winney-Baartz said.
“I look forward to welcoming community-minded arts professionals and an Indigenous and heritage representative to the reference group and continuing to shape the future of public art for the enjoyment of the Newcastle community and visitors alike.”
Applications are now open and close 5pm, Sunday 17 October 2021.
To submit an Expressions of Interest form visit, City of Newcastle’s website.

City services and facilities COVID-19 lockdown update

Many of City of Newcastle’s publicly facing facilities will be closed to the public in line with the lockdown announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for areas of the Hunter, including the Newcastle local government area.

The following City of Newcastle facilities are closed:

  • City of Newcastle libraries including the return chutes
  • City Administration Centre at 12 Stewart Avenue including the customer service centre and the digital library
  • City Hall
  • Civic Theatre
  • Community centres and halls
  • Fort Scratchley
  • Newcastle Art Gallery
  • Newcastle Museum
  • Tighes Hill Animal Facility
  • Visitor Information Centre

Essential services including kerbside waste collection and patrols of beaches, ocean baths and public areas by City of Newcastle lifeguards and rangers will continue, while Beresfield Childcare Centre will remain open.
City of Newcastle staff will continue to undertake essential construction and maintenance services in a COVID-19 safe manner and in accordance with relevant Public Health Orders.
Summerhill Waste Management Centre is open to all customers including domestic and commercial, and for kerbside collections in line with NSW Government advice. Customers will be required to check-in, wear a face mask and adhere to social distancing. Cashless payments are preferred. If you have a bulk waste self-haul voucher with an expiry date between 5 August and 10 September 2021, its expiry will automatically be extended by two months to give you sufficient time to use your voucher.
The gates at Blackbutt Reserve are open for outdoor recreation and exercise in line with the NSW Government advice. Blackbutt’s animal enclosures will remain closed until restrictions ease further.
On Sunday 19 September the NSW Government announced that public swimming pools can reopen from Monday 27 September. We are awaiting further information from the government regarding the COVID safety measures that will be required for opening and operation as part of the Public Health Order. When the pools reopen, we will have robust COVID safety plans in place to keep our community and staff safe. Further details will be available on our website as soon as possible.
City of Newcastle will continue to provide customer service via telephone and online web chat between 8.30am and 4pm Monday to Friday.
We encourage our community to follow the Public Health Order and the Stay at Home restrictions.
For information regarding the lockdown or Public Health Orders visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/COVID-19
Information regarding individuals or businesses who are or may be contravening the current NSW Health Order should be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Environmental upgrades underway at Summerhill Waste Management Centre

City of Newcastle will deliver approximately $6 million in environmental upgrades at Summerhill Waste Management Centre, including new systems to prevent pollution of water and manage leachate.
The work includes upgrading an alarm system which failed in January 2021, leading to an overflow that City of Newcastle reported to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and ultimately saw it fined $15,000.
The work also includes connecting of storage tanks to Summerhill’s leachate system and increasing its capacity.
Manager Waste Services Troy Uren said that the leachate overflow incident occurred in January during a period of heavy rainfall with work now underway to improve environmental monitoring.
“Our leachate storage overflowed during heavy rain in January as a result of a fault in the telemetry system alarm, which triggers when the storage tank is nearing capacity, but did not activate,” Mr Uren said.
“City of Newcastle reported the incident to the EPA and accepts the $15,000 fine for the failure of the alarm, which ultimately led to the overflow of leachate into the surface water system, but caused negligible environmental harm.
“We’ve since been working with the EPA to address the matter and have initiated a robust environmental program that will improve the separation of leachate and surface water systems to prevent this from happening again.
The leachate overflow occurred in an area that predates the existing engineered, lined landfill and the measures we are taking aim to connect the older infrastructure to the site’s modern leachate system while upgrading the overall leachate capacity.”
This work is part of a broader investment into upgrading environmental controls at Summerhill which includes an increased capacity of storage tanks, upgraded capacity of stormwater systems on site and new vehicle wheel wash infrastructure to reduce sediment.
A significant program of environmental works, which will address immediate, interim and long-term environmental compliance of the site is underway at Summerhill Waste Management Centre following the recent awarding of two contracts to implement Stormwater and Leachate Management, Environmental Improvement and Public Amenity Programs.

Man dies after motorbike crash – Raymond Terrace

A man has died following a single vehicle motorbike crash in the Hunter Region this afternoon.
About 2.45pm today (Saturday 18 September 2021), emergency services attended the intersection of Bailey Avenue and Sailors Way, Raymond Terrace regarding a crash involving an unregistered motorbike.
Police have been informed that the motorcycle collided with the curb where the 36-year-old male rider and a 6-year-old female passenger were ejected the from the motorcycle.
The male died at the scene and the girl was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics for minor injuries. The man was not wearing a helmet.
Officers from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District established a crime scene and commenced an investigation.
A report will be prepared for the information of the coroner.

Another cycleway link completed

The city’s cycleway network has received a boost with works finalising on a 1.1km shared path along Watkins Street, Merewether, linking Glebe Road, The Junction, with Merewether Beach.
The 2.5m-wide shared path is the first stage of the City Centre to Merewether Cycleway project and features new and upgraded crossings making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and upgrades to drainage.
The-Junction-Public-School-Principal-Cath-Larkman-Lord-Mayor-Nuatali-Nelmes-and-Councillor-John-Mackenzie-at-the-new-shared-path.jpgImage: The Junction Public School Principal Cath Larkman, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Councillor John Mackenzie pictured at the new 1.1km shared path, in front of a new raised crossing which links the shared path to The Junction Public School.
The $3.1million project was brought forward last year after receiving a funding boost under Newcastle’s COVID-19 stimulus capital works budget. The NSW Government also committed $600,000 to the project under the 2020/21 Walking and Cycling Program.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the delivery of this significant cycleway project demonstrates City of Newcastle’s commitment to cementing Newcastle’s reputation as a cycling and pedestrian-friendly city.
“This 1.1km shared path is a demonstration of the City’s commitment to ensuring Newcastle continues to be a city which promotes and encourages active transport options,” Cr Nelmes said.
“Improved cycleways are a top priority for our community and I know this new link will be enjoyed by residents, commuters, students travelling to the nearby schools and those visiting this beautiful part of Newcastle.
“City of Newcastle will now commence planning for the second stage between the CBD and The Junction as part of the overall City Centre to Merewether Cycleway.”
Councillor John Mackenzie said it was clear that improving safety had been a key goal of everyone involved in the project.
“Improving safety has been a focus of the project and the raised crossings and wide path will provide both pedestrians and cyclists with a safe passage across what can be a busy road,” Mr Mackenzie said.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin MLC said the State Government is helping people who want to walk and cycle as part of their everyday commute and supporting an active and healthy lifestyle, while also helping to relieve congestion on the roads and public transport.
“This project is one of 32 active transport projects across the state, including 16 in regional areas that are being delivered over the next 12 months,” Mr Martin said.
In a busy month for City of Newcastle, the completion of the Merewether shared path follows the delivery of separated cycleways on Hunter Street. City of Newcastle is also in the process of undertaking shared pathway improvements on University Drive at Birmingham Gardens and improvements are being finalised along the shared pathway at the Warabrook Wetlands.
To find out more information about cycleways and shared paths in Newcastle, visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au/cycleways

Teenager charged with murder after fatal stabbing – Lake Macquarie

Police have charged a teenage boy over the alleged fatal stabbing of one boy and the serious wounding of another in Lake Macquarie last night.
Emergency services were called to a home on Parbury Road, Swansea, following reports two boys had been stabbed in the front yard about 8.20pm (Friday 17 September 2021).
Officers from Lake Macquarie Police District found the boys, both aged 16, with stab wounds near the home.
Neighbours and police rendered assistance to the boys before NSW Ambulance paramedics arrived.
One of the boys died at the scene. The other was taken to John Hunter Hospital, where he underwent surgery and remains in a serious but stable condition.
Officers established a crime scene and commenced an investigation.
Following inquiries and a search of the area, officers found a 16-year-old boy in the backyard of the home on Parbury Road about 9.20pm (Friday 17 September 2021).
He was arrested and taken to Belmont Police Station, where he has since been charged with murder, and attempted murder.
He’s due to appear in a children’s court today (Saturday 18 September 2021).
Police will allege in court that the boy stabbed the other boys following a verbal argument outside the property.
Inquiries continue.