IT'S been a source of daily frustration for Lake Macquarie residents for more than a decade.
At the intersection of Fishery Point and Bay Vista roads, Bonnells Bay, the bike path comes to an abrupt end and pedal-pushers are forced to dismount.
Morisset Peninsula resident David Lemcke has been waiting a long time for Lake Macquarie City Council to provide infrastructure in his area.
"We have a cycleway to nowhere and no sports fields for a population of 15,000 people," the Balcolyn resident said.
"The community is crying out for infrastructure projects and we find out the money meant for these projects is being spent on stuff that should be funded through council's normal budget, it's really hard to believe."
The Newcastle Herald revealed on Friday that Lake council had controversially loaned itself $44 million from a special fund of public money meant to be spent on critical community infrastructure.
Documents obtained under Government Information Public Access (GIPA) reveal that in June last year council was sitting on a $111 million developer contribution fund that had a gaping black hole because council used almost half of it as a loan to itself for general expenditure.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment confirmed on Friday it was investigating the loan scheme. A spokeswoman said it had requested more information from Lake council.
Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes, who oversees the planning legislation that allows councils to collect development contributions, said on Thursday that he was in the dark about the $44 million loan scheme.
"If these claims are true, this is an unacceptable breach of the public's trust and a misuse of public funds earmarked for important public infrastructure," Mr Stokes said.
Lake Liberal councillor Kevin Baker, who was unaware of the internal loans, plans to move a motion at Monday's council meeting calling for an independent investigation into the scheme.
"Council has a responsibility to deliver critical community infrastructure - infrastructure that is desperately needed, particularly on the western side of the Lake," he said.
"I am horrified to think that funding many have been diverted to prop up council's poor financial outcomes."
The Newcastle Herald reported eight years ago that the Morisset Peninsula had a two-kilometre cycle path to nowhere - and the situation hasn't changed.
"We've been waiting a long time and we're still waiting," Mr Lemcke said. "The answer is always no, we're repeatedly forgotten."
It's unclear if the internal loan scheme is widespread across NSW. Lake Macquarie developer Keith Johnson has called on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to investigate.
Lake council issued a statement on Friday saying it was "open and transparent with all of its financial operations".
It said $9.6 million would be spent from the development contribution fund on community infrastructure this financial year.
"All borrowings are publicly considered and reported annually as part of our financial statements, which are audited by the NSW Audit Office," it said.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN NEWS TODAY
- Construction to start on University of Newcastle's Honeysuckle campus
- Pressure on governments over Eraring power station closure date questions
- Woman charged following Morisset handbag theft
- City parking spaces 'like gold dust' - Newcastle's parking debate reaches boiling point
- Stars aligned for Newcastle Writers Festival