Second bite at Bald Hill plan

Wollongong City Council is having a second shot at redeveloping Stanwell Park’s picturesque Bald Hill with a new Google-map style website launched to allow even non-residents to have a say about the future of the site.

Last September, the council was lambasted by green groups for a $3 million redevelopment proposal which included a 24-seat kiosk, improved parking and new kerb and guttering.

This time, the council has distanced itself from the consultation process, hiring a Sydney-based firm, ARUP, to compile and filter feedback on what people would like to see at the site.

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Ward 1 councillor Leigh Colacino said comments from people living in Wollongong would be treated the same as those from outside the region.

‘‘Is one person’s opinion given more weight than another’s? No. We want as much comment as we can possibly get together. We are not trying to exclude anyone from this,’’ he said.

However, even at yesterday’s launch, divisions between councillors were on show, with one attacking the decision to hire an external company to look after consultation.

Cr Greg Petty said the council should have handled the consultation in-house.

“We spend a lot of money on the consultation and we won’t have money left for the works,” he said.

Bald Hill has proved a particularly difficult site to redevelop. The area is controlled by a range of government and non-government authorities including the Civil Aviation Safety Authority which looks after the safety of hang-gliders who use the hill as a launching pad.

Roads and Maritime Services controls the roadway and has leaned on the council to fix the car park configuration which has proved hazardous for motorists and pedestrians.

Six accidents have taken place since 1996, mainly involving moving vehicles hitting parked or turning cars.

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