THE wheels are in motion to improve Newcastle’s network of cycleways, which will be given a $15.7million upgrade after Newcastle City Council’s rates increase was approved.
The rates decision was welcomed yesterday by Greens councillor Michael Osborne, who immediately called on other levels of government to match the investment in cycling.
‘‘Cycling was the number one issue when council did community consultation,’’ Cr Osborne said.
Other projects that will be funded include a 10-year program of upgrades at Blackbutt Reserve and a $42.9million overhaul of city libraries
Council city assets director Steve Edmonds said money earmarked for Hunter Street revitalisation, coastal revitalisation and upgrades to inland swimming pools was guaranteed from other sources.
The $21million Newcastle Art Gallery redevelopment is also included in the projects to be funded, but the council hopes remaining funding required will come from the state government.
Both the council and the federal government have already committed $7million, putting pressure on the state to match their contribution.
Without state funding, the council could be forced to prop up the project immediately, possibly delaying other projects.