MARINE Rescue Newcastle say they are tired of waiting for answers on the future of Shepherds Hill Cottage, as two years of inaction on the historic building’s repair leaves tempers flaring.
The state government has made no decision on a draft conservation management plan, which was commissioned by the council last year, despite receiving the report in January.
The delay has frustrated members of Marine Rescue Newcastle – the volunteer group who were forced to leave the cottage after damage caused by the April 2015 super storm. The group has been monitoring their radios from a temporary building lent to it by the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group on Kooragang Island.
“NCIG have been great, but we can’t stay there forever, they have their rules and regulations, too,” Marine Rescue Commander Ron Calman said. “We need a permanent home. For two years, we’ve been all split up, and it’s really putting us through a living hell. You can’t run an organisation on the edge.”
According to the conservation plan, which was prepared for the entire Shepherds Hill Defence Group, the site is in poor condition and in need of restoration.
But a council spokesman confirmed no further action could be taken until the state government made its final recommendations.
Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said the council paid an “urgency fee” to have the report returned as soon as possible, but “this has clearly failed to occur”.
You can’t run an organisation on the edgeRon Calman
“Marine Rescue Newcastle perform a vital service and these delays are hampering their efforts to protect our community,” he said. “This has dragged on for far too long. The Minister [Gabrielle Upton] must act now.”
The Office of Environment and Heritage said in a short statement it was “about to provide detailed comments to the City of Newcastle” on the conservation plan.
The department did not provide a timeline.