Four of the six candidates for Lord Mayor of Newcastle have pledged not to develop land along the Newcastle Link Road at Wallsend if they’re elected this weekend.
Current Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Greens councillor and candidate John Mackenzie, the Socialist Alliance’s Steve O’Brien, and Independent Rod Holding have all supported the push to protect the site.
A number of councillors have also backed their ticket leaders in making the pledge.
Newcastle Independents councillor John Church and Liberal candidate Jenny Barrie haven’t as yet backed the calls.
The Save the Link Road Forest campaign says the proposed housing development would threaten almost 600 hectares of land along the green corridor.
The land, owned by Eden Estates, could have enough space for 4000 new houses.
71 percent of the land is in the Newcastle Local Government Area.
Spokesperson Ian McKenzie says rezoning and clearing the forest would be devastating for the environment.
“Anything that isn’t already approved, we should be thinking really seriously about and it shouldn’t be going ahead,” Mr McKenzie said.
“The basis for the pledge is that it’s ecologically unsustainable, both on grounds of climate change and biodiversity.”
Developers have stated their hopes for a balanced approach to the site’s future.
But Mr McKenzie says it’s something to think about at the ballot box on Saturday.
“We’re optimistic that there may be a majority of the council that have signed the pledge,” Mr McKenzie said.
“If you care about our forests, if you care about the future of the planet for our grandchildren, and their grandchildren, think about it seriously and vote for those who have supported protecting the forest.”