Water stations installed along northern cycleway

The Thirroul water station

WALKING, riding, running or playing along the Grand Pacific Walk can be thirsty work.

This summer it’ll be easier to quench that thirst with nine new water refilling station installed from Pinecourt Reserve in Austinmer to East Corrimal Beach. The water refilling stations are currently being installed in time for summer.

The Grand Pacific Walk free water project is a joint initiative between Wollongong City Council and the Austinmer/Thirroul Lions Clubs. Funding was also received from the NSW Government’s My Community Project.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said that the water refill installations provide a valuable opportunity for walkers and cyclists to fill up water on the go.

“Over the last few months, we’ve noticed a big increase in the number of people using Council’s public spaces such as the Grand Pacific Walk for socially distant exercise,” he said.

“With summer just around the corner, the new water refilling stations are a great way for people to make the most of the outdoors and stay hydrated when exploring some of our foreshore parks along the coastal pathway. We’re all used to carrying re-usable water bottles with us and this is makes it easier for them to stay topped up.”

Director of Sustainable Finance at NSW Treasury Angela Cummine said My Community Project was a fantastic example of grassroots democracy in action.

“This innovative program was designed for residents to have a say in how to enrich their local area, improving facilities that are unique to their community, and these new water refilling stations along the Grand Pacific Walk will do just that,” Dr Cummine said.

“It’s great to see projects like this being delivered right across the state and I congratulate and thank everyone who was involved for their commitment and dedication to taking a great idea and turning it into reality.”

Each new water refilling station along the Grand Pacific Walk has been decorated with an original artwork created by students from local primary schools. The children’s artwork design selection was facilitated by the Austinmer/Thirroul Lions Club who worked with local schools to run a design competition.

Cr Bradbery said the Austinmer/Thirroul Lions Clubs were instrumental in securing the funding for the Grand Pacific Walk free water project.

“The Grand Pacific Walk is an ongoing Council project to improve Wollongong’s most scenic coastal walk. Improving access to free water by installing water refilling stations is one way we can ensure this space is safe and welcoming for everyone who uses it,” said Councillor Bradbery.

“I thank the Austinmer/Thirroul Lions Clubs who came forward with this plan and sought funding from the NSW State Government to help make it happen. It’s a great example of what can happen when passionate community members collaborate with government.’’

Austinmer/Thirroul Lions President Howard Whitesmith said that last September Austinmer/Thirroul Lions were delighted to learn that their Grand Pacific Walk – Free Water Project had overwhelmingly won the community vote in the Keira District Division of the NSW My Community Project Awards.

“The $111,663 award was proposed and championed by past president Robert Groat with the strong support of Wollongong City Council to install nine water stations along the Grand Pacific Walk with the aim to provide a community asset that would eliminate the need for walkers to carry single use plastic water bottles,’’ Mr Whitesmith said.

“Now complete, Austinmer/Thirroul Lions would like to thank all those in the community that voted for our project and the students who provided the great artwork for the water stations.  I am confident that in the tradition of the Club the project will provide a useful community service to be enjoyed by all.’’


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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and 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 Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been 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), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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