POLL: Coastal walk to boost Gong tourism

A Wollongong councillor believes a coastal walk between Otford and Windang could become an international drawcard.

Wollongong City Council is set to reveal details of a draft masterplan for the path - dubbed the Grand Pacific Walk - within weeks.

Under the plan, the shared pedestrian and bicycle path will snake along the coastline, following the Grand Pacific Drive route, from the Royal National Park to Lake Illawarra.

New sections will be built to connect the already existing paths and cycleways, and seating and viewing platforms will be installed at key locations.

Ward one councillor Leigh Colacino, who has long backed the idea and raised it as a possibility at one of his first council meetings, said the pathway would showcase the region's natural beauty.

"We have some of the most amazing coastline in the world in Wollongong and we should be making the most of it," he said.

"The Great Ocean Road doesn't have this [a shared pathway]; Lake Geneva in Switzerland doesn't have this; the coastline in Italy doesn't have a continuous pathway; this is a world-class tourism opportunity for us.

"It could grow into a major economic driver for Wollongong."

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The council will hold a meeting with key stakeholders early next month to brief them on details of the pathway, which will include a breakdown of the designated route and comprehensive overview of first-stage works, which include a new pathway between Stanwell Park and the northern end of the Sea Cliff Bridge.

The council has allocated $750,000 in next year's budget to cover stage one construction costs.

Cr Colacino said the absence of walkways north of the bridge was a constant bugbear for residents, many of whom lamented being unable to enjoy a coastal walk themselves or showcase the exquisite views to visiting friends and relatives.

"The coastline around Stanwell Park is visually stunning but currently no-one can safely enjoy it," he said. "You have to walk along the side of the road and battle coal trucks, cars and motorbikes - you take your life in your hands just to see the view."

Stakeholders and the public will get the chance to contribute to the project through planned community information kiosks.

Details of when and where the sessions will be held have yet to be released.

Cr Leigh Colacino on Grand Pacific Drive. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Cr Leigh Colacino on Grand Pacific Drive. Picture: ROBERT PEET


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