The future of a ‘‘missing link’’ boardwalk at Joes Bay on Lake Illawarra is uncertain after Wollongong councillors voted to write to the state government requesting it be postponed.
The $750,000 pedestrian and cycle boardwalk was a project of the Lake Illawarra Authority as part of its plans for a continuous shared pathway around the lake.
However, doubts were raised after the government disbanded the authority in July.
Its functions were moved under the umbrella of the NSW Department of Trade and Investment until a Wollongong and Shellharbour council-run estuary management committee is established.
Two opponents of the boardwalk spoke during council’s public access forum on Monday night before Cr Bede Crasnich introduced a motion to write to Minister for Regional Infrastructure Andrew Stoner requesting the postponement.
Primbee resident Catherine Gerloff said many of her neighbours felt they had not had the opportunity to have their say.
She said the walk was not wanted because it would detract from the natural beauty of the lake.
‘‘The whole consultation process has been a shame,’’ she said.
‘‘The Lake Illawarra Authority from the outset said they had overwhelming community support, however we can find no evidence [of this].’’
She said 600 residents had signed a letter opposing the development.
Cr Crasnich said he was concerned the council would be left with a ‘‘financial mess’’ if construction of the walk went ahead prior to the estuary management authority being established.
‘‘I don’t want us to be handed a half-eaten dirt sandwich,’’ he said.
‘‘I don’t want us to be left with something the community hates and is an eyesore all because proper consultation didn’t take place.’’
However, Cr George Takacs said the motion endangered the establishment of the planned continuous bike path.
The motion was passed seven votes to six with an amendment that the council request full disclosure of all Lake Illawarra Authority financial reports and audits, including audits undertaken by NSW Treasury, for 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-13 financial years.
Councillors Merrin, Blicavs, Dorahy, Colacino, Crasnich, Curran and Petty supported the motion.
Councillors Kershaw, Connor, Brown, Martin, Takacs and Bradbery voted against it.