An unwelcome addition to the vista at a popular Newcastle dining spot has a business owner seething about an apparent lack of respect being shown to those who live and work in the East End.
Newcastle City Council has erected a new streetlight pole on the public sidewalk near the intersection of Scott Street and Zaara Street – within metres of the outdoor dining area at Scottie’s Cafe.
It is unmissable for diners who gaze down Zaara Street, towards Newcastle beach.
Jenny Roberts, who has owned Scottie’s for 12 years, said she hadn’t been consulted before the pole was placed recently.
“It’s just a pole, but it’s a slap in the face to me,” she said.
“I suppose, to some people, it might seem small and insignificant, but it’s just a stark reminder that they’ve taken out Norfolk Island pines for power poles.
“For them to try and sell it to us as an upgrade of services is a load of bunkum.
“What it smacks of to me is that there as been very little planning and there’s no respect being shown to the East Enders or the people of Newcastle.”
A Newcastle 500 spokesperson said the pole was not part of preparations for the Supercars race, rather part of council upgrades. However, a council spokesperson said it was part of work that needed to be done before the November event.
“The pole in question has been installed to comply with contemporary statutory lighting requirements for pedestrian crossings,” he said
“The standards are very strict and dictate clearly where poles should be positioned to illuminate crossings. The Scott Street crossing has been brought up to standard in conjunction with the Newcastle 500 roadway improvement works and electrical/lighting upgrades on Scott St and around the entire East End.
“While the light pole location is dictated, the design process also considered existing utilities and access ways to install the pole in the best location to meet the required lighting levels.”
But Ms Roberts said it was an added insult during an already difficult time for her business, with much of the East End being rendered construction areas ahead of the Supercars event. While some have argued that businesses would benefit from the increased number of people in the city on race weekend, Ms Roberts said she would miss out because Scottie’s was inside the residential zone that would be off-limits to the general public.
“We didn’t want [the race] in the East End but if there were going to be some gains – we’re in business, we wanted to see that,” she said.
“But to have the general public out there thinking we’re all going to do so well – I’m not.”