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Thirroul kiosk challenges

THE Thirroul Beach Kiosk and Pavilion upgrade is well underway, with the popular beachside building presenting a number of challenges for Wollongong City Council.

Work on the 1940 structure began in late August 2015 to extend the life of the building, reconfigure the layout to make better use of the space, and improve its accessibility.

Council’s Director of Infrastructure & Works (Acting) Mike Dowd said, “With any old building, we do as much investigation as we can ahead of time, but often it’s not until we start peeling back the layers that the real story emerges, and that’s what’s happened with the Thirroul Beach Kiosk and Pavilion.

“As the floor and wall linings were removed, we’ve found that the old brick walls of the kiosk and residence were saturated with salt and had deteriorated much more severely than expected. In many places, there was no mortar left at all.

“We called in an independent structural engineer, and following their advice we’ve installed temporary supports to prop up the roof.

“The next step will be to demolish the failed walls, and rebuild them, which is not something we had originally planned,” Mr Dowd said.

“The building is part of the Thirroul Baths precinct and has local heritage significance, so we’ll reuse any original materials we can to preserve that historic value. We’ll also ensure that any rebuilt sections match the original appearance of the building as closely as possible.

“Taken with the discovery of asbestos material beneath the change room floors, which was removed by qualified experts in October, this will unfortunately add some months to the project.

“We’ll be bringing extra workers on site to rebuild the walls as quickly as possible. While that’s happening, we will continue with as much work as we can on the rest of the building.

“We also need to do some further investigation of the kiosk parapet and the change room walls to make sure they’re structurally sound. We always knew some of the bricks would need to be replaced – unfortunately the extent of brick and mortar damage is greater than our initial testing indicated.

“Our plan was to complete the refurbishment in Autumn 2016, but even with these setbacks we’re still optimistic that we’ll have the work completed before the start of the 2016-17 swim season.”

The Thirroul Beach Kiosk and Pavilion upgrade is supported through the NSW Government’s Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme.

Wollongong City Council is currently inviting quotes from those interested in leasing and operating the kiosk and restaurant once the refurbishment is completed. Details are available through Council’s e-tendering portal at https://www.tenderlink.com/wollongong/ with submissions closing at 10am Thursday November 26 2015.

For more information contact Council’s Customer Service on (02) 4227 7111 or visit http://www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.

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