Suburb will be called Lake Macquarie

LAKE Macquarie councillors approved last night a plan to hive off part of Speers Point to create a suburb called Lake Macquarie.

Councillors voted to make a request to the Geographical Names Board to approve the plan, which affects about 260 residential properties.

Mayor Greg Piper said the plan would help give Lake Macquarie ‘‘an identity in our own right’’.

He said it would allow Lake Macquarie to differentiate itself from Newcastle and Port Macquarie, with which the city was often confused.

Cr Kay Fraser, one of three Labor councillors to oppose the plan, moved that the matter be deferred for more consultation.

Cr Piper said there had been fair consultation.

The majority of councillors dismissed concerns about a lack of consultation and resolved that there was ‘‘demonstrated support for the creation of a suburb named Lake Macquarie’’.

Cr Wendy Harrison, a possible independent mayoral candidate, said the matter was a ‘‘leadership issue’’.

‘‘Lake Macquarie has come of age,’’ Cr Harrison said.

‘‘I don’t go to Newcastle often, there’s not the need, we’re a city in our own right.’’

No Name Change Action Committee spokesman Terry McCormack, a Speers Point resident, said he would immediately send a submission to the Geographical Names Board.

‘‘That’s so when then board makes a decision, it won’t only have the council’s side of the story,’’ Mr McCormack said.

Council officials said the move would allow Lake Macquarie to gain a postcode, signs on the F3 freeway and enable the entire city to be found easily on Google and GPS devices.

The proposal was made in response to a push from tourism and manufacturing businesses, which felt the city’s lack of identity was an impediment.

WHAT’S IN A NAME

* Australia Post, the Australian Electoral Commission, Telstra, Hunter Water, Ausgrid and Sensis will be notified of the change

* Residents must make their own arrangements to change mailing addresses

* Property deeds and records do not need to be changed until a sale takes place

* The Lake Macquarie postcode would be 2284, the same as Speers Point

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