Northern suburbs residents banded together on Tuesday in an effort to ‘‘Save Coalcliff’’ from cuts proposed by Wollongong City Council’s citizens panel.
About 70 residents – including people from Stanwell Park and even Corrimal – rallied in Leeder Park yesterday afternoon to express anger over what they believe is an unfair attack on their tiny seaside suburb.
Among 65 recommendations to cut services, raise fees and make the council more efficient, the citizens panel made three proposals that directly affect Coalcliff.
They said the beach season at Coalcliff and Scarborough should be cut from seven to three hours a day ‘‘due to level of visitation’’ for a saving of $40,000, and suggested Coalcliff Hall should be demolished to save $33,000.
Coalcliff’s pool could also be affected by a proposal to ‘‘reduce’’ and ‘‘run to fail’’ two or three of the city’s nine tidal ocean pools.
Save Coalcliff co-organiser Jo Reed got behind the campaign after she saw a poster advertising a community meeting about the recommendations. Ms Reed said she was ‘‘blown away’’ to see three different plans affecting her small community and felt Coalcliff had been ‘‘deliberately victimised’’.
‘‘I didn’t understand why there were three things targeting us, while across the rest of the Illawarra there were whole suburbs being let off,’’ she said.
‘‘We don’t have much here as it is, and when they’re trying to take that away from you and increase your rates at the same time you just think ‘Why?’’’
Since then, Ms Reed has joined with her neighbours to start a website, a Facebook page and hold Tuesday’s rally to raise awareness of the potential Coalcliff cuts, which would be ‘‘devastating’’.
She said her children – aged seven and 10 – enjoyed the rock pool. ‘‘The pool is kind of the hub of Coalcliff, particularly in summer it’s just a lovely place to hang out with your kids because it’s very safe,’’ she said.
Ms Reed also said a plan to roll back lifeguard hours at Coalcliff Beach would be ‘‘risky’’ and dangerous for the community, especially if the recommendation to scrap the tidal pool was taken up.
‘‘If we don’t have the pool, then more people are going to want to go to the ocean, so the public will be exposed, and if they do go in when it’s not patrolled and get caught in a rip or have fatigue, there’s not even a lot of mobile phone reception within the area,’’ she said.
Submissions on the citizens panel recommendations close at 5pm today. Residents can send an email, fill out a survey or participate in an online forum at haveyoursaywollongong.com.au.