Coastal walk extension plan takes shape

When it comes to walking tracks, there are few as spectacular as the seven-kilometre trail across the headlands between Kiama and Gerringong.

The walk between Loves Bay, Kiama Heights and Werri Beach opened in 2009 after 12 years in the pipeline.

While a stand-alone walk in its own right, the seven-kilometre link was officially an extension of the 22 kilometre Kiama Coast Walk that starts at Kiama’s northern boundary at Minnamurra and continues to Boat Harbour at Gerringong.

Now momentum is building to see the council’s long-held vision of extending the walking track to the municipality’s southern boundary realised, a walk that would take in the equally spectacular scenery between Gerringong and Gerroa.

Kiama council’s economic development committee said the economic benefits of the extension would be substantial.

Yesterday, Wollongong City Council was granted $5million through the Illawarra Infrastructure Fund for stage one of its Grand Pacific Way project and Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler said a walk the length of the Illawarra would be  world class.

The Kiama Coast Walk route is predominantly through Crown land and public reserves, although in some areas around Kiama Downs and Kiama Heights,  where the coastal topography is impassable,  it reverts back to public streets.

A council spokesman said the proposal was to extend the coastal walk south of Boat Harbour to Gerroa and Seven Mile Beach and on to the southern boundary with  the Shoalhaven.

‘‘At present there are still three to four properties in private ownership that council would need to acquire land from to allow this extension to proceed,’’ the spokesman said. 

Cr Petschler said it took many years to get the Kiama to Gerringong track  completed and the council would have to deal sensitively with the landholders  before a link between Gerringong and Gerroa became a reality.

‘‘There is some considerable work to be done and some obstacles to overcome but they are not insurmountable,’’ he  said.

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