Minutes of the general meeting held on Sunday 20th of November 2016

PRESENT: Lynne Parker, Paul Tuckerman, Murray Jones, Peter Spencer, Christine Hill, Catherine Philps, Ray Smith.

APOLOGIES: Barbara Mebberson, John Mebberson, Kay Smith, Linda Cortie, Yvonne Whitesmith, Sylva Wishart, Annette Jones

The General Meeting commenced at 4.05 pm. The minutes of the previous General Meeting and AGM of 14th of August 2016 which were distributed by email, were accepted as a true reflection of that meeting.

Secretaries report

The Secretary reported on two letters sent.
1) As requested at the last meeting, a letter detailing feedback on the closure of Bulli Pass was sent to Anna Cook, Project Manager for RMS.
2) As discussed by the Executive since the last meeting, a letter detailing concerns about DA - 2016/1368 for a dwelling at Lot 39 Woodland Avenue was sent to WCC. The location is a tennis court that has slowly fallen into the ocean in the last 40 years.

The Secretary then reported on correspondence received from Erin O'Dwyer regarding concerns about the impact of reducing the number of train services from Austinmer Station from 10 to 4. Commuter option have been reduced to three services in the morning, but only one for the return Journey, which is illogical. The Austinmer carparks , recently overflowing , are now less than 3/4 full.

The secretary reported on a meeting attended by the Thirroul Transport Committee (TTC) at the Minister for Transport's office on the 22nd of September. Stephen Egan, Phillip Laird and Murray Jones represented the TCC. Gareth Ward M.P., Parliamentary Secretary for the South Coast, The Secretary to the Minister for Transport, two senior timetable experts from Sydney Rail, a Press liaision officer and a minutes Secretary also attended. The primary reason was to discuss possible arrangements to cope with the closure of Bulli Pass for two months on two occasions in the next 7 months.

Gareth met us at the lift door and excitedly told us of a press release put out earlier this morning which makes permanent some of the Austinmer stops on express services between Wollongong and Central and other improvements to rail efficiency which Gareth announced as a "massive win for Illawarra Commuters". The timing of the press release immediately prior to our meeting was rather unusual. The headline of the release was as follows.

Below is a Media Release from Electorate Office Kiama  dated 22nd September 2016

BACK ON TRACK: MASSIVE TIMETABLE WIN FOR SOUTH COAST TRAIN CUSTOMERS

The contents of the press release form appendix A below.

As we were not given any opportunity to read this press release before the meeting, we had no option but to take his word for this "massive win" and entered the meeting in a happy and thus compliant mood.

We explained that it appeared that there were many more commuters in the Bulli to Corrimal region who were driving to catch the more convenient train services at Thirroul, than from Austinmer and north. We were told that it had been easier to make extra express stops only at Austinmer, because there are many more "operational contingencies" to cope with extra stops at Bulli. These contingencies were not explained. We could not convince them of the need for extra stops at Bulli.

We were surprised when most present where unaware of the TfNSW own website statistics that show passenger numbers on the South Coast fell by 13%. This is the worst of any NSW region. Overall, NSW passenger numbers rose by 23% between 2004 and 2014. How can this be explained by other than by deteriorating rail service?

It was only after arriving home that we had a chance to read the mornings Press Release. It was with substantial chagrin that we found that "a massive timetable win" for South Coast Train Customers was achieved by adding extra services in Sydney and cutting over half the Austinmer services.

It appears that the timing of this press release and our meeting, which was arranged many weeks ago, could only be intentional. I was offended and personally felt that we were set up. It appears to me that any future interaction with Gareth Ward on this issue will be a waste of time.

Gary suggested that we write to Gareth Ward and Ryan Park and ask them to explain

  •   What are the additional contingencies required for extra stops at Bulli.

  •   What has led to a 13 percent drop in passenger numbers in recent years and

  •   What does the Government intend to do about it.

    General Business

    The Thirroul Seaside and Arts Festival will be held on the weekend of Saturday 1st of April 2017. The meeting decided to prepare a stand similar to last year. The meeting asked that the location next year not be close to the ice cream truck and the fumes from its diesel motor. Peter Spencer, Gary Chapman and Murray Jones offered to meet in January to plan for the Festival. An initial budget of $100 was allocated.

A new wave of graffiti attacks was reported. Murray reported on invoicing Cadifern Pty. Ltd. $500 for Possible Graffiti paint-over work at 124, 126 and 128 Phillip Street Thirroul.

The impact of the Bulli Pass Road closure was discussed. The extra traffic did not appear to cause any issues. Peter reported that many local business people reported a drop in turnover during the closure.

Christine Hill asked and was authorised to spend $60 on plants for local public gardens. Christine also sought any spare tins of mission brown for graffiti cover up on the overhead bridge. If any members have unused tins that they wish to donate, please contact me directly.

Paul closed the meeting with words of thanks for everyone's contributions to the many small improvements in Thirroul.

The next meeting will organised at a later date for February 2017. Meeting closed at 5.20pm

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