The people of Wollongong have spoken, and their message to the council is: don’t close our beloved rock pools.
Like a crashing wave, people have made their opinions loud and clear to Wollongong City Council’s financial sustainability review, and by far the largest number of submissions concerned rock pools.
Stopping maintenance on some less-used pools and allowing the ocean to reclaim them was one option recommended by the council’s ‘‘citizen’s panel’’ to save money.
But with a consultation period of just two weeks now finished, rock pools drew 360 responses - almost double the second-placed issue.
The recommendation to reduce beach patrol times at Coalcliff/Scarborough was second with 185 submissions, followed by the recommendation to demolish the Coalcliff hall (51) and closing Unanderra library (49).
The figures show the success of the campaign from residents of one of Wollongong’s smallest suburbs - Coalcliff - to make sure their beloved rock pool is not on the list for abandonment.
But across the local government area, residents may need to put their money where their mouths are - a report to next week’s council meeting says there may be cause to pay more to support services, either through increased rates or fees.
‘‘Whilst a rate increase was generally not supported, a small number of submissions (24 agree compared to 151 disagreed) suggested that some community members preferred to pay higher rates in order to maintain service levels,’’ the report states.
‘‘Similarly other submissions claimed they would pay higher rates or fees for a specific service, in order to maintain that specific service (in particular ocean rock pools).’’
From these, three will be selected as options for further consultation.