Newcastle by-election candidates quizzed about planning in the city
Great to be art of organising this event – and congratulation to all 9 of the 11 candidates for Newcastle and Charlestown byelections who are prepared to sign the Charter for Good Panning
Newcastle residents got their first chance to question candidates standing in the upcoming by-election, as they fronted a community forum in the city on Thursday night.
It was organised by the Better Planning Network, an organisation aiming to lift the standard of planning and development approvals across NSW.
All Newcastle candidates were asked to sign a community charter for good planning and all gave their views on local issues like the cutting of the rail line and inner city high rise development.
Independents Karen Howard and Jacqueline Haines were the only two who did not sign the charter.
Ms Howard told the gathering she needed to consult more widely.
“If I’m truly to represent the electorate that I seek to serve it’s reasonable to expect that I consult with all the voters in my electorate in order to have a more than reasonable feel for their views on these points,” she said.
“I’d have to say at this point in time I don’t feel in a position to know those views.”
Labor’s Tim Crakanthorp told the gathering he was happy to endorse the charter.
“A simple clear charter that I most certainly will endorse tonight and just like this charter I believe in a planning regime that properly balances economic activity, environmental concerns and has community participation,” he said.
Greens candidate Michael Osborne signed the charter and told the gathering good planning was about protecting special places like Newcastle CBD from high rise development.
“The very first thing you do is you protect the places that are special, whether they’re the natural environment or the built heritage,” he said.
“But we also need to, in the Newcastle context, be protecting those sight lines to the (Christ Church) Cathedral.”
Independent candidate Tony Brown says the community has been horrified at the political scandals being uncovered at the Independent Commission Against Corruption and regaining trust in the planning process is vital.
“Unless we restore and recommit to honesty, trust and integrity and transparency then it will all fail,” he said.