Nameless station steams up rivals

The new station being built north of Dunmore suffered the latest in its long-running series of identity crises yesterday, with an announcement it can no longer be known as Shell Cove.

Originally called Flinders, 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 station.

But yesterday, Ms Watson was able to triumphantly reveal the Geographical Names Board of NSW had rejected this new name. She said it did not meet the board's naming guidelines because the station was located outside the suburb of Shell Cove.

Ms Watson said the independent agency's ruling meant Mr Ward and his government should "swallow humble pie" after they resolved to change the name without public consultation.

"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," she said.

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

But 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.

"This just typifies the superficiality and shallowness of Anna Watson that she thinks this is some great victory."

The station is due to be completed by the end of this year, however it remains unclear what it should be called for now.

When asked for clarification on how the Mercury should refer to the station yesterday, a Transport for NSW spokesman said: "Transport for NSW will continue to work co-operatively with the Geographical Names Board to deliver the best outcome for our customers and the community".

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