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Managing our vulnerable coastline

ILLAWARRA’S northern coastline offers a great lifestyle, enviable views and supports a diverse range of flora and fauna. To help manage this unique environment Wollongong City Council is about to embark on the first stage of a new Coastal Management Program (CMP).

The long-term project will ultimately see the development of a strategy for the coordinated management of the coast and estuaries, guided by the Coastal Management Act 2016.

Council says the community has an important role to play in the CMP’s development. The community’s voices, it says are important in the scoping phase, which will determine what the CMP needs to include, what studies need to be prepared and who needs to be involved. Council will also review the work that has been undertaken in the past to manage issues and challenges in coastal areas.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said now is the time for the community to share their thoughts on changes – both good and bad – to coast and estuaries, how they use and enjoy beaches, headlands and rock platforms and what they love about this environment.

“Our coastal environment is a big part of who we are as a community and is intrinsically linked to our identity as a city,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

“When you talk about Wollongong to anyone, it’s inevitable we reference our beach lifestyle – whether you’re a swimmer, walker or a whale watcher. We all have a voice and opinions about our coastal environment and now is the time to share them with Council so that this feedback can influence the Wollongong Coastal Management Program.’’

Engagement will start on June 1, 2022 with the launch of an interactive online mapping tool and online survey. There will be a series of pop-up stalls held across the city in late June to provide residents and visitors the opportunity to speak directly with the project team.

Wollongong Council general manager Greg Doyle said meetings will be had with key stakeholders, including representatives from Aboriginal groups and surf life saving clubs.

“Wollongong City Council is responsible for about 60km of coastline that stretches from the Royal National Park in the north to Lake Illawarra in the south,’’ Mr Doyle said.

“We take our role as a caretaker and advocate seriously and we want to have the right measures in place for our mix of beaches, dunes, cliffs, headlands and rock platforms, small coastal creeks and estuaries.

“Each of these elements play an integral part in the experience of the city for our residents and visitors to our city. They’re some of our greatest assets and are highly valued. By developing the CMP we’re able to have an evidence-based approach to the ongoing care and management of these volatile and dynamic environments.

“The CMP also provides us with an opportunity to seek funding support from the state and federal government to deliver improvements to these assets and put us in the best possible position to adapt to, or mitigate against, the challenges of climate change.’’

Developing a CMP is made up of five stages:

  • Stage 1: Identify the scope of the CMP
  • Stage 2: Determine risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities
  • Stage 3: Identify and evaluate options
  • Stage 4: Prepare, exhibit, finalise, certify, and adopt the CMP
  • Stage 5: Implement, monitor, evaluate and report

For more information about the CMP or how to join the conversation, visit Council’s website.

“We all have a role to play in supporting our much-loved coastal environment into the future,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

“It’s critical we hear from as many people as possible as we start the first stage of preparing our new CMP and I encourage people to hop online or talk with staff at one of our face-to-face engagement opportunities to understand how they can contribute to our city’s future.”

The project is supported with $66,000 from the NSW Government’s Coastal and Estuary Program.


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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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