Greens MP boosts Lake Macquarie City Council candidates



Lake Macquarie Greens have launched environmental activist and campaigner Bryce Ham as candidate for North Ward of Lake Macquarie City Council along with veteran Greens campaigner Jane Oakley as candidate for East Ward, who has long advocated for improved pedestrian safety across Lake Macquarie neighbourhoods.

Their campaign for Council received a boost from Greens NSW MP Abigail Boyd who covers Hunter, Central Coast and Newcastle in the NSW Parliament. 

Greens NSW MP for the Hunter, Central Coast and Newcastle Abigail Boyd said: 

“From the local to the global scale, Bryce Ham already has impressive experience as an effective activist and campaigner.  Bryce is committed to a long-term vision for Lake Macquarie that will maintain this area as one of the most desirable places to live in NSW including through sustainable transport options, protection of our environment, and public infrastructure development that puts residents first.” 

“Bryce’s commitment to a safe and stable future included his bravery in joining The People’s Blockade of Newcastle Port last November. Bryce and over 100 fellow protesters were fully exonerated by the Magistrate’s Court, who described them as valuable contributors to society who have done outstanding work in their communities and have a genuine concern for the environment.” 

“Lake Macquarie residents can expect both Jane and Bryce to deliver on commitments they make as a candidates for Council,” said Abigail Boyd. 

North Ward candidate Bryce Ham said: 

“I’ve heard from many Lake Macquarie residents over the last three months and it’s clear they expect Council to deliver safer walking and shared pathway options, particularly around schools. Whether people wish to travel on foot, with strollers, mobility scooters, bicycles, or wheelchairs, residents need safe level areas separated from vehicle traffic, and Council has not done enough in this area to make Lake Macquarie walkable for people of all ages.” 

“Residents I’ve heard from are also worried about the threat from encroaching development to the green spaces, beaches and the Lake itself that would ruin what makes Lake Macquarie one of the most desirable places to live in NSW. Council’s current approach to development places at risk the intact habitats, native vegetation, wildlife corridors, walking trails and waterways that make Lake Macquarie attractive to residents in the first place. Without those natural assets, what would we be left with?” 

“My approach to infrastructure development is that Lake Macquarie City Council must put residents first. That means sufficient walking, cycling and mobility options in increasingly crowded Charlestown, Cardiff, and Edgeworth to reduce traffic congestion, and connecting Charlestown to the coast via the Dudley trail that I’ve campaigned on for over 5 years now.” 

“We will also make announcements for protecting children at all Council playgrounds with UV shadecloth, and better bus shelters to encourage public transport use across the hundreds of bus stops around Lake Macquarie.”  

“But today I am most excited to announce that as Greens candidate for Lake Macquarie City Council, I will move to scrap entry fees to Council pools if elected to North Ward in September.” 

“The whole community will benefit from the Greens plan to scrap entry fees at all six Council operated pools in Charlestown, Morisset, Swansea, Speers Point, Toronto and West Wallsend,” said Bryce. 

“Even in our coastal region blessed with natural ocean and lakeside beaches, public pools are essential to many residents for safety, recreation, exercise, mobility, and social health. But entry fees are locking out too many Lake Macquarie residents. Entry fees are an unnecessary barrier to access, denying residents the health and social benefits of swimming in a safe, supervised environment.” 

“Instead of the unnecessary administration costs and unproductive workload that comes from collection and monitoring of entry fees, Council could divert those resources to additional swim programs and maintenance of all six pools around Lake Macquarie. Pool-goers would also find themselves with extra money in their pocket to treat the family at the kiosk instead.” 

“For many Lake Macquarie families, the pool is their best option for children to learn to swim, to cool off after a challenging day’s work, or just to spend time together. For older residents the pool can be a great way to reinvigorate their health and social life in a safe swimming environment. Why should residents and ratepayers who already fund these pools miss out on these benefits due to an unnecessary barrier like entry fees?” 

“Other areas of NSW that have trialed free entry programs found that their community, their pool, and Council bottom line all benefited as a result. Increased patronage at the pool led to more support for associated programs, pool shops and canteens, with extended hours and seasons leading to more local employment. The health, social, and financial benefits add up to much more than the fees foregone by Council. “

“Summer heatwaves, made more severe by global warming, remind us all that public places to cool off are essential for people of all ages and health needs; what better place than a safe, supervised Council pool?” 

“Free, safe and supervised swimming pools bring people together, and Council should encourage more of this in Lake Macquarie by scrapping the entry fees. If elected in September, I will pursue this as a policy for Council,” said Bryce. 

East Ward candidate Jane Oakley said: 

“Being able to walk safely in our community, whether for transport, leisure or exercise, is critically important.” 

“Improving walkability has a range of health, environmental and economic benefits. It’s really a win-win for council and for people in our communities.” 

“I’ve spoken with residents who have been lobbying the council for years to improve footpaths around the local shops and schools. They’re fed up with the lack of action and I’m taking up their call as a candidate for East Ward.”