Minutes of the general meeting held on Sunday 15th of November 2015

 PRESENT:  Paul Tuckerman, Barbara Mebberson, John Mebberson, Peter Spencer, Murray Jones, Gary Chapman, Linda Cortie, Lynne Parker, Judy Bourke, Sylvia Wishart, Maria Basaglia, Virginia Hastings, Catherine Philps, Cathy Bloch, Kevin Marston, John Dalla Pozza, Bronwyn Hutchison.

 APOLOGIES: Cr. Jill Merrin, Cr. Greg Petty, Ray Smith, Kay Smith, Ron Hutchings, Annette Jones, Ross Deardon, Steve Dillon.

The general meeting commenced immediately after the AGM at 4.12 pm.  

Paul welcomed those attending. The minutes of the previous meeting of the 3rd of July had been distributed by email and were accepted as a true reflection of that meeting.

Secretaries Report

Was taken as presented during the AGM.


Gardening Committee Report

Gina spoke in praise of Kay Smith's effort in almost single handedly cleaning up the garden sections of Thirroul Beach and in particular, the section surrounding the childrens playground.  Gina spoke of the disappointing productivity of Council workers, listing several examples, and of the frustration in seeing Council workers waiting idly around the Bulli depot at 2.30pm for the 3pm finish.

Gina expressed concern about youths involved in late night drinking in Gibson Park and the subsequent litter.

Gina pointed out that the Council:

Did not provide adequate access ramps for the concrete footpath built along Seafoam Avenue .  The path rises kerb height above road level.

Have recently roped off and killed several trees near the Gibson Park Tennis Courts.

Need to replace the shade cloth which protects the children at the Beach Park.  Also the edging material needs better restraint from covering the paths. (Now resolved according to Council.  According to a conversation with Peter Coyte the damage to the sails was covered under the suppliers warranty period, but the sail provider has been slow in meeting his obligations.)

Need to supply more bins to reduce the litter at Gibson Park.

Needs to improve the drainage of the NE corner of Gibson Park. 

Fail to remove sand built up on the Beach Promenade. 

Need to improve the paths in front of Beaches (now pending according to Council.  A third stage of footpath development was recently announced.  This appears to address all of the incomplete sections close to the town centre)


Beach Committee Report

Gary reported on the Beach Committee's recent efforts to gain action on several issues and problems with the Thirroul Beach Precinct.  These can be listed as:

Poor planning shown by closing the Kiosk, possibly for 12 months, in the first week of the summer season.  It now appears that, with additional weathering problems being found in the foundation, we may lose the use of the Kiosk (Pavilion for up to two summers.

Replacing dressing sheds and toilets with temporary toilets and change rooms that are around 90% smaller.

Poor condition of the promenade pavement, with numerous trip hazards.

Poor promenade lighting provided by a mixed collection of what appear to be second hand lights.

Agreement that future Kiosk lessees cannot do as the previous lessee and discriminate against those in beach attire or those that just want a cup of coffee.

Move the Amy Memorial from its current location where is exposed to damage from vehicles to the top of the small hill on the NW corner of the children's playground. This could remove the need for a roundabout and thus free up land for improved parking.

Poor drainage and/or the need for several low lying sections of the beach reserve to be filled.

Improve the water supply to the pine trees that provide shade on the western side of the Pool.  

Concern that the cycleway is located too close to children park.

Concern that the children are exposed to danger from cars reversing from the current pool car park.

Call for community consultation on a Thirroul Beach Precinct Plan of Management.

Gary told of the difficulty in dealing with four Councillors that represent this area.  It was not possible to meet with all the Councillors at once, thus four separate meetings were arranged.  During those meetings none of the Councillors took notes or appeared to be willing to represent the Beach Committee's  concerns going forward. 

One Councillor, Janice Kershaw, did arrange for the Beach committee to meet with WCC Property and Recreation Manager, Peter Coyte and his associate Paul Doherty.

Paul did explain that Council has more assets than money.  Therefore they are not willing to invest in new structures, but are committed to maintaining current assets. The new Kiosk (Pavilion) lease agreement would be for ten years, not five.


Thirroul Transport Committee Report

Judy Bourke reported that the committee has been actively pursuing action on resolution of the problems that came about from the 2013 timetable changes.  These are summarised in the press release attached as appendix 1.  Since July, several meetings have been held with local Members Gareth Ward and Ryan Parks who have spoke in support of the Committees action.  The Committee repeatedly has been promised meetings with the Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance.

Judy spoke of an ongoing commitment to resolution and pointed out that maximum number of cars in the new car park has been 20.  The principal users appear to be railway workers and parents picking up School Children.  The noticeable benefits of the car park to date has been 

Reduction in congestion along Seafoam Avenue before and after school.

Provision of an area for beginner skateboard riders.

Another benefit will occur when the car park near the Woodward Park is closed soon for re-surfacing thus forcing rail patrons to use this car park.


General Business

Maria Basaglia spoke of her concern regarding an NBN node box or network connector box being installed on her front lawn without consultation or compensation and asked if others had experienced a similar problem.  No one could suggest any way of preventing such action as it was on the road reserve.

Paul stated that he is confident that Don Gray's portrait will be hung in the Trips hall in the near future and invited all attendees to the Trips Annual event to be held on the 28th of January at 7.30 pm.

Gary reported on the issue of poor emergency services access times in the Northern Suburbs and an example of the value of Surf Life Saving training in an incident where a lady lay unresponsive on a kerbside for nearly two hours.

Meeting closed at 5.20pm


Appendix 1.

Neighbourhood Forum 3

 Thirroul Transport Committee

Media Release

22nd July 2015

Increased Travel times, parking saturation, businesses damaged.

The true cost of a faster commute from Wollongong has hit home, or rather, the northern suburbs.  As express trains no longer stop at Bulli and Austinmer, commuters from here either spend an extra 22 minutes a day in transit or drive to Thirroul to catch the express.  This led to most parking within 500 metres of Thirroul Stations filling up by 8am. This is detrimental to local traders.  Two have already moved on.  

The Government’s solution is to build a car park around 500 metres away across Lawrence Hargrave Drive. On Friday 17th July Mr Gareth Ward, Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra walked with TTC from Thirroul station to the new car park and back in the cold and wet weather and discussed the construction and positioning of the new car park in Church Street.  It was shown by example that walking time from the new car park will add an additional 15 minutes to the commuters daily travel time. 

Gareth agreed with the figures from the Thirroul Transport Committee (TTC) and its recommendation that most of the parking problems in Thirroul can be fixed by introducing express services that alternately stop at Bulli/Thirroul then Thirroul/Austinmer. Gareth then asked for a list of other recommendations as follows;

A pedestrian path/tunnel be built from the car park under the road bridge to prevent those running late from risking  serious injury by crossing Lawrence Hargrave Drive near the bridge instead of using the pedestrian lights. 

Use Waterfall Station as the express interchange station instead of Helensburgh.  Many commuters feel unsafe when waiting for trains late at night at Helensburgh as it is remote from both local housing and the highway.  Waterfall has better road links, parking facilities, disabled access and links directly with the Sydney city network. 

Investigate the speeding up of the trains now that concrete sleepers have been installed. 

Place 2 hour parking zones with resident exceptions within 500 metres of the Station.  

Stop treating feeder train users like cattle by dropping them off on platform 3 and expecting them to hurry over the bridge to platform 1.  Please drop them off where the express stops.

For additional parking, please hand over to Wollongong City Council the vacant land between the Railway and Gibson Park.

Build an 80 metre bus lane to link Wrexham Road to Railway Street as planned.  This would allow a rail/bus interchange at Thirroul station. 

Separate the feeder train into two services, one north to Helensburgh and one south to Port Kembla.

Mr Ward agreed to present a list of recommendations from the TTC to the Minister for Transport Mr Andrew Constance. TTC will also present its list of recommendations to the Shadow minister for Transport Mr Ryan Park.


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