A new home for Wollongong love locks

Loved-up Wollongong couples may soon be able to pledge their passion with a padlock attached to a "love lock tree".

Wollongong councillor Chris Connor said a number of locations around the Illawarra, including Mt Keira Summit Park and Sea Cliff Bridge, would be suitable for a purpose-built love lock tree.

Such trees - of the natural or man-made kind - are popular around the world.

Cr Connor believes they provide a great alternative to the popular practice of people attaching padlocks to council railings at spots like the Mt Keira lookout and Sea Cliff Bridge.

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In recent months Wollongong City Council has had to remove 400 locks from the lookout, and removed 150 locks from the bridge, because they were causing corrosion.

A report into the management of love locks has been completed by council staff.

The recommendations - which include the installation of lock trees - will be considered at Monday night's council meeting.

Cr Connor is confident fellow councillors will vote in favour of the lock trees, which he believes would be a great tourist attraction.

"I went to China recently and there were even chains with love locks attached on the Great Wall of China," he said.

"People want to express their love and affection for each other and love locks are a great expression of that, but by putting them on railings it does create corrosion and degrades the asset.

"So it's important for Wollongong City Council to provide other places where visitors and locals can continue that practice."

Cr Connor said a love lock tree at Mt Keira Summit Park would be a "starting point".

The council would need to consult with Roads and Maritime Services to identify a suitable, and safe, location for another tree on the northern suburbs bridge.

"I think ultimately there could be a number of these lock trees - and people will vote with their love locks," he said.

"A location on the Blue Mile where some locks have already been placed, or in the Wollongong Botanic Garden, may also be suitable."

Cr Connor said he supported an option in the council papers to engage an artist to design and install such a structure.

Estimates predict it would cost up to $15,000 for the commissioning of the design, and $25,000 to $50,000 for the fabrication and installation of the piece.

"It's an opportunity to showcase some nice public art which could be built upon by love locks," he said.

"It's got to be something that's big enough to hold a number of locks, but not so big that people will climb on it; and it has to be made out of a material that will not corrode over time, like stainless steel or industrial plastic.

"I'm interested to see what local artists come up with."

Meantime Cr Connor may be one of the first to add his mark to such a tree - he and wife Carolyn have a love lock in their possession and they're keen to see it publicly displayed.

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