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A Drain On The System

Newcastle Herald

Friday April 25, 2008

By MATTHEW KELLY

NEWCASTLE businesses will contribute up to $904,000 next financial year towards the cost of improving and maintaining the city's ageing drainage infrastructure.

Details of the contributions are outlined in Newcastle City Council's stormwater management service charge for businesses.

Three options for the charge, which range from $25 per 350 square metres with the charge capped at $5000 to $25 per 350 square metres with the charge capped at $1000, have been put on public exhibition.

The council has not indicated a preference.

The business community's contribution will be in addition to the $1.3 million householders will contribute through the $25 non-strata and $12.50 strata residential stormwater management service charge, which was introduced last year.

A further $655,000 has been allocated for drainage works in the council's major asset preservation program as part of the 2008-09 management plan.

The spending, which will be between $2.4 million and $2.8 million, represents about 7.5 per cent of the $33 million backlog of drainage works identified in 2006.

Cr Marilyn Eade said yesterday the council was committed to ensuring the city's stormwater infrastructure was up to scratch.

"We are getting a lot more heavy storms," she said.

"The velocity of water that is going through the drains is also increasing, which means that we are going to have to look at things like detention basins for storm water."

The council has committed money towards a stormwater education program, which is designed to make people aware of the dangers of storm water.

"I know people who drove into Newcastle to see the Pasha Bulker on the night of June 8 and ended up losing their cars," Cr Eade said.

"We need to spend more time educating people about what they should do when storms like these occur."

© 2008 Newcastle Herald

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