A $3.7 million upgrade of Blackbutt Village on Orchardtown Road is set to commence next month, delivering a safer, more attractive place to shop for New Lambton residents.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said after previously engaging with the community on their ideas for this popular area, it will be wonderful to see this long-awaited upgrade get underway.
"Early in this project the community highlighted concerns about safety, and in particular safety when crossing the busy Orchardtown Road," Cr Nelmes said.
"Our team have been busy developing a design that both improves safety and encourages pedestrians and cyclists to the area, as well as making it a safer place to park your car and visit the local shops."
The upgrade will include an off-road shared pedestrian and cycle path, a new pedestrian crossing, improved footpath connections to Blackbutt Reserve, as well as introduction of a 40km per hour High Pedestrian Activity Area.
Ward 3 Councillor and Chair of the Infrastructure Advisory Committee, Peta Winney-Baartz said the upgrade will see the entire public domain of the popular local centre renewed for the local community and visitors, with a focus on place activation and improving public spaces to further promote local businesses.
"Wider footpaths and new plazas will improve outdoor dining and promote activation of the area, while its look and feel will be improved with renewed drainage, kerbs, gutters, road surfaces, footpaths, lighting, street furniture, tree planting and landscaping," Cr Winney-Baartz said.
"As a part of our ongoing engagement with the community, we will also invite local residents and businesses to let us know their ideas for the best use and activation ideas for the new public open spaces later in the year."
Traffic and Transport Manager Ryan Tranter said that City of Newcastle will continue to involve the community and local businesses in discussions about the introduction of timed parking in the local area.
"Parking safety and turnover issues have been strongly identified throughout community consultation to date, and we'll continue to speak with local businesses and residents to ensure ease of access to the upgraded Local Centre for locals, customers and visitors," Mr Tranter said.
"We hope that through the improvements we are delivering, the community will enjoy even greater connections in this area and benefit from its links to our expanded pedestrian and cycleway network."
Following a workshop with business owners in the area, the broader community will be invited to provide feedback on options for timed parking in the coming months.
Construction is estimated to be complete by early 2024. The upgrade has been supported with a $591,677 grant from the NSW Government under Round Seven of the Resources for Regions program.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the NSW Government’s Resources for Regions funding is stimulating local economies and supporting the ongoing prosperity of mining towns.
“This project represents the NSW Government’s commitment to providing continued support to mining reliant towns,” Mr Toole said.
“Projects like the Blackbutt Village upgrades will go a long way to help revitalising this area in Newcastle and provide long term benefits for this great mining community.”
The project being delivered as part of City of Newcastle’s Local Centres program and follows similar upgrades at Carrington, Beresfield, Joslin Street in Kotara, Llewellyn Street in Merewether, James Street Plaza in Hamilton, and the upgrades currently under construction in Stockton and Shortland.