Next step towards the revitalisation of Newcastle City Centre

6 August 2015

Newcastle City Council and UrbanGrowth NSW have agreed to a broad reaching program to involve people from across Newcastle and the Hunter region in shaping ideas to revitalise Newcastle city centre.

Newcastle City Council last night voted to endorse an engagement plan that was developed by UrbanGrowth NSW with reference to the guiding principles in NCC’s City Engagement Charter and feedback from Councillors and Council staff.

The Revitalising Newcastle engagement program will encompass a broad range of activities, including stalls at shopping centres and markets, newsletters, surveys, an engagement website, social media, targeted engagement with specific groups including youth, business and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, a future leaders forum, a business breakfast, and community workshops to be held in late August.

“In partnership with UrbanGrowth NSW, I am pleased to be able to announce the next round of community engagement regarding the revitalisation of our city centre,” said Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes.

“In the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Council and UrbanGrowth NSW, Council is committed to working collaboratively with UrbanGrowth NSW to ensure the Revitalising Newcastle engagement process reaches as many people as possible.

“Revitalising Newcastle is open to anyone with an interest in the future of our city, and I encourage the people of Newcastle to speak out and get involved to help shape the creation of new jobs, homes in the city, entertainment areas, and great open spaces for all to enjoy.”

UrbanGrowth NSW Chief Executive, David Pitchford, welcomed Council’s endorsement of the engagement plan.

“UrbanGrowth NSW is committed to moving forward together with Newcastle City Council on this important project for the Newcastle community,” Mr Pitchford said.

“After all, genuine community engagement is not only critical to good planning but it is also the key driver of successful urban transformation, so UrbanGrowth NSW is delighted to be working in partnership with Newcastle City Council in engaging the people of Newcastle in the transformation process.”

Program Director, Michael Cassel, explained that the engagement plan would entail a range of activities from August 10 to September 18, including a community summit.

“We want as many people as possible to get involved in the Revitalising Newcastle community engagement program,” Mr Cassel said.

“We want to ensure that members of the community are well informed about the commitments and opportunities available as part of the transformation program and have their say on the future of their city.

“The engagement activities will enable UrbanGrowth NSW to further understand the community’s vision and aspiration for Newcastle city centre, and to ensure that UrbanGrowth NSW’s guiding objectives for the urban transformation are correct.

“A key event will be the Revitalising Newcastle community workshops on the weekend of August 29-30, where we will discuss our ideas for transformation of the city centre which have been informed by feedback from community consultation we held last year, advice from Newcastle City Council, guidance from urban planners and architects, and similar revitalisation projects from around the world.”

Lord Mayor Nelmes said the city had a unique opportunity to provide a lasting legacy for our future generations.

"We are being asked to identify projects for our city's revitalisation and there is money to spend on making these projects a reality. This doesn't happen every day and the people of Newcastle and Hunter need to grab the opportunity with both hands, think big and be part of the conversation."

Details of the Revitalising Newcastle community engagement program will be able to be found on both the Newcastle City Council website and the UrbanGrowth NSW website from August 10.

The Revitalising Newcastle engagement plan follows the Design Newcastle process, held in June-July 2014, which sought to identify community visions and aspirations for the urban transformation of the Newcastle city centre, and builds on NCC’s community engagement on city centre renewal. Revitalising Newcastle is the next step. For more information, visit www.revitalisingnewcastle.nsw.gov.au

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