Vote for recognition

Marzia Zochil and husband Marino have hopes for the naming of this walkway. Picture: ADAM McLEAN
Marzia Zochil and husband Marino have hopes for the naming of this walkway. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

After searching for somewhere to honour Efrem and Giulia Bonacina for nearly a year, it seems the family of the much-loved volunteers have finally found a place to erect their plaque.

Wollongong City Council will vote on Monday whether to name the walkway between Stewart Street and its Burelli Street headquarters Bonacina Walk.

The family of the late community workers, who were the co-founders of Wollongong's Seniors Week and Illawarra Migrant Heritage Project, flagged plans to formally recognise the couple with the council in June 2013.

Efrem and Giulia's eldest daughter, Marzia Zochil, said the walkway had strong links to their Italian heritage and community work.

"That's the walk my mother always did when she went to work at [the Italian Social Welfare Organisation] ... and I also remember they once put a photo there of her standing in front of a Nissan hut," Mrs Zochil said.

"So it's wonderful, the perfect site for them."

According to a report, council officers originally worked with the family to investigate naming a future street in the West Dapto land release area after the Bonacinas.

However, due to the unknown timing and alignment of future West Dapto streets, the family was advised to look at renaming an existing park or reserve.

The council then gave the family a list of four parks in Gwynneville that did not have names assigned under the NSW Geographical Names Board.

They selected the area informally known as Spearing Reserve at the corner of Paulsgrove Street and Spearing Parade.

However when the renaming proposal was put on public exhibition, residents raised concerns a new name would sever the reserve from its links to early European landowner James Spearing.

The council received 53 submissions.

While most were supportive of formal recognition for Mr and Mrs Bonacina, they were also against changing the park's name.


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