$1.7 million makeover slated for dilapidated Austinmer Beach

Changing rooms: Mark Roebuck, of Wollongong City Council, chats to regulars at Austinmer Beach about the proposal (above) for the amenities block. Picture: Sylvia Liber.
Changing rooms: Mark Roebuck, of Wollongong City Council, chats to regulars at Austinmer Beach about the proposal (above) for the amenities block. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

Wollongong City Council is planning a $1.7 million makeover for the dilapidated Austinmer Beach amenities block and has asked for input on the early plans.

For years, residents have complained about the state of the 1930s toilet block, which doesn’t meet current standards for disability access, energy efficiency, plumbing or sewerage.

The council’s new plan will keep the main concrete structure and arches of the block – which has previously been nominated for a heritage listing, but was not successful – but includes new awnings covering the entrance to the toilets, more seating and a recycled timber and plastic facade.

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The council will also replace the deteriorated concrete roof, do repairs to the retaining wall and upgrade the amenities inside the building.

This will include a new unisex accessible toilet, upgrades to toilets, new cold water showers and a large family shower and baby change table in both the men’s and women’s bathrooms.

The proposed design

The proposed design

“What we’re trying to say here is that both parents care for children, and the whole family needs to have access to those type of facilities, so that’s what we’ve put in this proposed design,” the council’s manager city works and services Mark Roebuck said.

Mr Roebuck said construction would not start on the block for about two years, with works scheduled for winter 2019.

Temporary showers and toilets will be provided during construction.

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The council has completed a number of upgrades around Austinmer Beach in recent years, including improved pathways in this area, new picnic tables, a replacement for the surf club roof and a new playground.

However, it is still yet to complete the works on the troublesome Austinmer rock pool which began in May 2014 and were originally costed at less than $500,000.

The cost has now more than tripled and work is continuing.

The budget for the new amenities block has been estimated at $1.678 million.

The council will hold a drop in session at the front of the amenities block on October 14, from 10.30am-12.30pm. Council staff will be on site to talk about the plans.

Comments on the proposal close on November 5.