News

Facelift for Austi beach landmark

austinmer-amenitites-proposed-design

THE ageing amenities building at Austinmer Beach will be given a fresh new look and Wollongong City Council is asking the community for feedback on the proposed works.

The renewal retains the existing main concrete structure and arches, but includes new awnings covering the entrance to the toilets, more seating at its front and a modern timber look lining the front wall under the façade.

Council’s Manager City Works and Services Mark Roebuck said inside, there will be new unisex accessible amenities, in addition to a family shower and baby change table in both the mens’ and ladies’ bathrooms and new toilets. The severely deteriorated roof will also be replaced.

“The changes proposed for the amenities building will be a huge improvement on what is there right now and are important because they will bring this facility – that’s valued by the community and is a key location for out of town visitors – up to modern standards,’’ Mr Roebuck said.

“This proposed work is another component of the significant investment Council has made in this precinct in recent years. Already, we’ve made improvements to the shared pathways in this area, installed new picnic tables, replaced the surf club roof and put in a new playground. Plus, we’re continuing work on rock pools, and are looking to upgrade the area around the war memorial.’’

The refurbishment of the amenities building is scheduled for winter 2019 and temporary toilet and shower facilities will be provided during the project.

“The current building is dilapidated and doesn’t meet current standards for disability access, energy efficiency, plumbing and sewerage,’’ Mr Roebuck said

“The renewal plan has carefully taken into account the building’s heritage significance, and will also include replacing the existing concrete roof and putting a new rooftop viewing deck in. It’s going to be a wonderful spot for those up early to catch the sunrise. ’’

The building was nominated in 2016 by a community member for listing on the State Heritage Register. And while the NSW Heritage Council decided not to list it as the building was not of state significance, Council is considering it for a local heritage listing. The proposed design has been guided by heritage advice.

“When we were considering options for what we might do to improve facilities at Austinmer, we did look at two options – upgrading what is here or a total rebuild,’’ Mr Roebuck said.

“We’ve opted to refurbish it because we know this is a much-loved building and it means we’re able to retain the significant heritage elements that give the precinct its distinctive look, while allowing for the ongoing use of the facility for its original purpose.’’

The plans for the Austinmer amenities building are on public exhibition until Sunday 5 November 2017. To share your thoughts on the planned works, visit www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au.

There will be an on-site kiosk at the amenities building on Saturday October 14 from 10.30am to 12.30pm where people can talk to Council staff about the proposed design and provide feedback.

For more information you can contact Council’s Customer Service on (02) 4227 7111.

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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