Ward stands by name despite ruling

A LONG-running stoush between two Illawarra MPs over renaming the station formerly known as Flinders has taken another turn, after an independent agency rejected a bid to call it Shell Cove station.

The station's name has been a sore point between Shellharbour Labor MP Anna Watson and Kiama Liberal MP Gareth Ward since he announced it would be renamed Shell Cove.

Ms Watson said a ruling by the Geographical Names Board of NSW, which found the name "Shell Cove Station did not meet the guidelines as the station was located outside the suburb of Shell Cove", meant the state government and Mr Ward should "swallow humble pie".

"The arrogance of the NSW government, the Minister for Transport and Gareth Ward has been palpable on this issue," Ms Watson said.

"The minister and Mr Ward have to now swallow an ample serve of humble pie, dished up by one of the government's own independent agencies.

"This is precisely what happens when a local MP, who really should know much better, jumps the gun, acts before thinking, with no consultation whatsoever beyond a few trusted Liberal Party hacks.

"Gareth Ward misled his own minister on the renaming of the station and he ought to be completely embarrassed for his folly."

Last year, Mr Ward announced the new $39 million railway station would be renamed Shell Cove following what he said was "a strong community campaign" and evidence it would help support tourism in the area.

However, this was opposed by Shellharbour council, who wrote to NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian expressing its disappointment regarding the lack of consultation.

Ms Watson said the government should now consult the Shellharbour community on the new name of the station.

However, Mr Ward seemed unmoved by Ms Watson's revelations about the name rejection. "So what? Whoop-dee-doo-da-day," he said.

He stood by his belief that the station would be better served by the name Shell Cove because of its proximity to the new marina, but said the debate should focus on which government had funded the project, not its name.

"Quite frankly I am most concerned about the station being there, for young people trying to get to further education or look for work or older people trying to get to medical appointments," Mr Ward said.

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