Overgrown Koonawarra pathway upsets users

The state of a new shared pathway at Koonawarra has been described as "embarrassing" and "depressing" by user groups.

Officially opened in December, the three-kilometre path beside Lake Illawarra connects the foreshore of Koonawarra Bay to Yallah Bay near the Tallawarra Power Station.

The path includes 2.7 kilometres of concrete pathway and 300 metres of elevated boardwalk over wetlands south of Elizabeth Point, providing access to foreshore areas previously unavailable. It cost $1 million and took three years to complete.

The path was one of the final projects funded through the Lake Illawarra Authority.

However, three months after dignitaries from government departments and Wollongong and Shellharbour councils officially opened the pathway, sections of the path have become overgrown thanks to a lack of maintenance.

Chris English, who is vice-president of Illawarra Ramblers, recently conducted a walk in the area for members of the Shellharbour U3A.

"It is a pretty area and the path has lovely views but the track has been totally let go in just a couple of months," Ms English said.

"There are always people here, it is getting well used ... the lack of maintenance just sends a bad message to visitors to the area."

Save Lake Illawarra Action Group president Col Wilton said the problems with the path were another example of the many issues caused by the "dog's breakfast" situation that had followed the NSW government's decision to scrap the Lake Illawarra Authority.

However Mr Wilton also pointed the finger at the LIA for entering into agreements to take on land for projects, without firm plans or funding to manage the assets.

A Wollongong City Council spokesman said the land between Illaroo Parade, Koonawarra, and along Gilba Road adjacent to Gilba Road reserve was managed by the council.

"This land is scheduled for maintenance on a regular basis," he said.

"The section from the gate on Gilba Road along the new shared pathway around the point to Yallah Bay Road is currently land managed by the Lake Illawarra Authority.

"As reported before, the council is part of the Lake Illawarra Authority Transition Committee and a report on the transition will be presented to council in April, 2014."

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