New love lock invasion hits the Illawarra

Sublime Point lookout is shaping up to be the next love lock hot spot in the Illawarra.

A visit to the secluded and scenic location uncovered more than 20love locks adorning the fence at the lookout overlooking Wollongong. Love locks are padlocks that people engrave with the name of their significant other and then lock around a fence or structure at a symbolic location.

At Sublime Point there are locks declaring the love of Tim and Alecia, claiming that Kiz and Gen will be together forever and that Ivy loves Jeff.

Either Ivy or Jeff – or both – came back in 2012 to interlock a smaller padlock around theirs, bearing the name ‘‘Marcus – 30 Jan 12’’.

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The majority of the love locks were clicked shut in 2012 or later – which is perhaps no coincidence.

That year has some significance when it comes to the Illawarra love lock scene.

In May 2012, Wollongong City Council officers took the bolt cutters to as many as 400 love locks attached to the Mt Keira lookout, citing damage to the fencing.

‘‘The metal locks cause corrosion of the fencing, which will drastically reduce the service life of the fencing,’’ a council spokesman said at the time.

‘‘Council made the decision to remove the locks to prolong the life of this asset.’’

The unannounced action caused some alarm among the owners of the love locks, who were later able to collect them from the council.

In September 2012, Roads and Maritime Services removed the locks from another popular spot – Sea Cliff Bridge.

‘‘The locks are causing maintenance and safety concerns by corroding the pedestrian barrier and causing staining to the concrete below,’’ an RMS spokeswoman said.

‘‘Some members of the public have also complained they are an eyesore.’’

Rather than snip them off with bolt cutters, RMS hired locksmiths to remove the locks but leave them operational.

A Wollongong City Council spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the organisation was aware of the love locks at Sublime Point.

‘‘The existing fence and rail at the site is currently programmed to be replaced in 2014,’’ the spokeswoman said.

‘‘Before the removal of the fence, council will continue to monitor the fence for signs of any damage or deterioration.’’

She also said that the council was a part of a working party to find a public location where love locks could be hung.

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‘‘This is a long-term project and it’s anticipated a report will go before council outlining a number of options in the first half of 2014.’’  

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