News

Helensburgh Community Centre closed and will be demolished amid safety concerns

HELENSBURGH could be without a community centre for up to five years after the announcement of the closure of the Walker Street building and its eventual demolition, amid concerns relating to water and moisture.

Owner of the Helensburgh Community Centre building, Wollongong City Council is planning a replacement in a new library facility, with construction expected between 2025 and 2027.

Over the past 10 years, Council has undertaken a series of works to investigate and remediate ongoing issues of damp under the floor of the community hall. Past works have included the installation of fans and vents to increase subfloor airflow and circulation.

The recent period of extended rain has exacerbated problems within the hall and the development of significant mould. An independent hygienist’s report completed last December showed mould was within the Hall and had extended into other areas of the centre.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said Council is aware the building is valued by the community as a meeting and social space.

“However, despite our attempts to address the impacts of persistent water flow under the sub-flood area of the Hall, it continues to be a problem,” he said.

“Given the ongoing weather over the past few months, it is likely the mould is now significantly worse than when the assessment was carried out last year.

“The health and safety of the Centre’s users are our primary focus and that is why the decision has been made to close the building permanently and arrange for its demolition.

“I look forward to the planning of the replacement Helensburgh Library and Community Centre facility. Council is committed to this project, and it will now be progressed.”

Wollongong City Council General Manager Greg Doyle said many residents will be aware of the unpleasant challenge that mould can present thanks to the recent wet and humid weather.

However, the scale of the problem at the community centre was not something that could be addressed easily.

“It is a difficult decision, but we need to be realistic about this facility and the use of Council’s limited funds. Right now, we are looking very closely at plans for a combined community centre and library facility for Helensburgh and surrounds that’s planned for construction in 2025-2027,’ Mr Doyle said.

“We are best to save the funds and divert them towards a new state-of-the-art facility that this community wants and deserves.’’

Council has been working with centre users to find alternative locations to meet, most of whom have not been in the building for some time due to the COVID-19 pandemic Public Health Order restrictions on community facilities.

The centre has in the past been used by a variety of local groups for activities as diverse as playgroups, dance lessons and meetings by other community groups.

“We appreciate the local community values community spaces, and we are supporting those who have used the Centre for meetings and other activities to find alternative spaces such as Coalcliff Community Hall, the rooms for hire within Stanwell Park Children’s Centre and Darkes Forest Community Hall,’’ Mr Doyle said.

Over the coming months, Council will arrange for the building to be emptied and preparations will be made for the mould removal to make the building safe ahead of its demolition.

Once the demolition is complete, the building’s current footprint will be remediated and turned into a greenspace for the Helensburgh community.


Subscribe to the latest Bulli & Clifton Times news stories


Pay Pal Tip Jar

PAYPAL TIP JAR

YOU can support the The Bulli & Clifton Times and/or the Looking Back local history websites with a donation through PayPal. Your generous patronage of my work and research, however small it appears to you, will greatly help me with my continuing costs, and help support independent journalism and local news media. You can leave a small tip here of $2, or several small tips, just increase the amount as you like. Your support helps provide an independent and free source of local news and information.

A$2.00


OR DONATE BY DEBIT OR CREDIT CARD

Don’t have PayPal? Instead, you can make a small donation towards the publishing of The Bulli & Clifton Times and/or the Looking Back websites with your credit or debit card. If you would like to support my work, you can leave a $2 donation here by tapping or clicking on the button below. Your generous patronage of my work and research, however small it appears to you, will greatly help me with my continuing costs.


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 pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia 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 writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed 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 Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,064 other followers

Twitter

%d bloggers like this: