LETTER: Call off Wickham in favour of art

LORD mayor Jeff McCloy tells us that Newcastle City Council is broke and can’t afford to extend the Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, can’t afford to run the inland swimming pools and can’t afford a myriad of other council services.

Perhaps if the state government abandoned the destruction of the heavy-rail line into Newcastle and construction of a so-called transport interchange west of Wickham there could be abundant funds for the art gallery and other council functions.

I understand there is an initial $5 million provided for preliminary planning with a total of $120 million committed for final planning of the interchange.

This is only the start of an extravagant waste of taxpayer funds on a flawed strategy to fix a non-problem.

Final costs could be in the order of $500 million, or more, given the way that all of these projects go.

As a community we must ask if this is the best way to spend taxpayers’ money, when Barry O’Farrell is cutting into health services, public education and other services?

Wouldn’t a new art gallery, a refurbished Newcastle post office and a restored City Hall be a better use of public funds to benefit Newcastle?

There are other projects around NSW also worthy of funding before the Wickham interchange.