The State Government was left red-faced on Tuesday night after it was forced to admit artwork attached to Tea Gardens police station that appeared to show a design for a ‘new police station’ was inaccurate.
The artwork was odds with an announcement that Premier Gladys Berejiklian made in June that $1million would be spent upgrading the historic weatherboard station over four years.
The artwork was attached to government-branded construction fencing that was erected around the station on Monday.
The fencing, which was installed without consultation with Port Stephens police, later had to be partially removed to allow police access the building.
Port Stephens MLC Catherine Cusack said, while she had not seen the artwork, there was ‘no way’ the iconic police structure would be demolished.
“[The artwork] is awkward, I’m sorry, but the station is going to be redeveloped exactly as the Premier said it would be,” she said.
A NSW Police Media statement issued on Tuesday night indicated that the artwork was generic but did not address why it was labelled as a ‘new police station’.
“The existing site will be redeveloped with a new regional police station that meets current and future service demand,” the statement said.
“The artist impression is the generic concept design that will form the base structure of the new police station design.”
This year’s state budget allocated $117,000 for design and planning for the project.
Port Stephens MP Kate Washington said the community had been left dismayed by the government’s mishandling of the project at every turn.
“The endless bungling that has gone on with this project is mind boggling,” Ms Washington said.
“There has been absolutely no community consultation. The police and the community deserve a lot better.”
Meanwhile Police Minister Troy Grant announced on Tuesday that Karuah police station would be rebuilt.
“While the Karuah police might service a small community, it is vital they have a modern, permanent base to work out of, which is also inviting for the community who may need police assistance,” he said.
Funding for the $1 million station will be rolled out over three years, with initial design concepts ready in early 2019.