Newcastle City Council is giving people what they have long demanded, signing off on the demolition of the infamous landmark.
The demolition of the Queens Wharf Tower will save ratepayers about $1.6 million over the next four years. The design of the Tower combined with its exposure to the salty air means ratepayers have over the past few decades paid millions of dollars to maintain its paintwork.
Derided by locals and tourists alike for decades, the Tower will come down sometime in mid-2018. In the meantime, Council will start speaking with the community about how the space should be used once the Queens Wharf Tower is removed.
The Tower is outdated in terms of accessibility. When designed in 1988 no consideration was given to responding to an emergency within the tower or for access for people living with a disability.
In addition, the Queens Wharf Tower is the subject of many complaints to Council, particularly in regard to cleanliness and regular vandalism.
The Tower’s removal will be a source of celebration for a city that has just showcased its beautiful foreshore at the weekend’s record breaking Newcastle 500 race, said Council's Interim CEO Jeremy Bath.
"There really is no other way to describe the Queens Wharf Tower other than as an embarrassment to the City. I look forward to not having to answer the inevitable question of ‘why’ from guests and visitors when they first see the Tower," he said.
Now is the right time to modify our skyline and visitor perceptions of Queens Wharf, as we continue to revitalise our CBD.
“The Queens Wharf Tower will remain open for about another 6 months, giving people the chance to visit one last time if they wish," Bath said.
“The Tower does have a role in Newcastle's history, as the Queens Wharf complex was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during her bicentenary visit to Australia in 1988."
"That historical connection is certainly one to be remembered. Once the Queens Wharf Tower is gone, Council will find a clever, tasteful way of remembering it. It’s a part of our more recent past, albeit one that we are certainly ready to move on from," Bath said.