News

Big clean-up begins after extreme weather lashes the northern suburbs

The clean-up of Otford weir

A BREAK in the heavy rain is providing Wollongong City Council staff the opportunity to focus efforts on debris removal from beaches and drainage systems and carry out road and pathway repairs.

Following the extraordinary heavy and consistent rain, many beaches are littered with rubbish and debris that has been either washed up in heavy seas, or washed-up through fast-flowing storm water.

Patrolled beaches are currently closed and Council lifeguards have been walking the sand picking up large pieces of rubbish. Council works crews are also continuing to collect debris from stormwater entrances and exits.

“Where it has been safe to do so, Council has had teams on the ground throughout this weather event making sure that culverts are cleared, fallen trees are removed and locations where water flows over the road signposted,’’ Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.

Cleaning a culvert on Farrell Road, Bulli

“So, in a way to say they’re now starting a clean-up is a little misleading. However, as the weather conditions improve and people venture out of their houses they will certainly see Council staff focussed on cleaning up the city.

“This will not be an overnight clean-up. This weather has dumped a phenomenal amount of water across the local government area, and we are undertaking this phase of work using a risk-based approach. We’re tasking staff to manage high-risk issues like fallen trees and the clearing of culverts.

“It will take some time for our parks and playgrounds to dry out enough for us to be able to get our heavy grass-cutting equipment on them safely and without causing further damage to their surface. I thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we safely and diligently clear the backlog of mowing.’’

Cr Bradbery appealed for people to be cautious if walking beaches. Patrolled beaches and Thirroul pool remain closed due to sea conditions and concerns about water quality.

Wollongong City Council has began removing fallen trees from the region’s roads

Council has also closed a number of beach accessways that are unsafe due to wave and water run-off eroding sections of sand.

“We have seen significant scarping at Bulli, Woonona, Corrimal, Towradgi, Fairy Meadow and City beaches and in some instances the sand has been eaten away by the sea to create a four-metre drop,’’ he said.

“We are working on a plan to be able to bring heavy equipment onto the beach to make these areas safer. To do this, we need the seas and swell to drop, and to make sure we’ve got the right measures in place to manage the sensitive marine environment. This work is an urgent priority for Council and we will carry it out as soon as it is safe to do so.

“We all have a role to play in the clean-up efforts and little steps can make a big difference. If you’re getting some sunshine and walking the beach or around a park and see some rubbish that has washed up in the recent weather, pick it up and pop it in the nearest bin. It’s a small thing but it can make a big difference to our local environment.’’

To report issues such as potholes, fallen trees on public land or long grass visit Council’s ‘report it online’.


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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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