More construction works are planned by Wollongong City Council at Austinmer Beach, with the revival of a 2011 plan to almost double the size of the boat shed.
The boat shed would be developed to improve facilities for the Austinmer Surf Life Saving Club, installing a lifeguard “surveillance room” and amenities, as well as a gym.
Wollongong City Council has put the works out to tender, with plans showing the boat shed would be extended out across the grassed area at the north end of the beach.
A council spokesman said the Austinmer area was “a key priority for council due to its high level of use by locals and tourists alike”.
“The facilities will help provide a safer surf experience for beach goers as well as further fitness facilities for surf club members,” the spokesman said.
“The new lifeguard facility and gymnasium will enhance lifeguards surveillance at this popular beach and the gymnasium will assist the surf club in maintaining and attracting its volunteer lifesaving patrolling members.”
The gymnasium will assist the surf club in maintaining and attracting its volunteer lifesaving patrolling members- WCC spokesman
Council is relying on a development application from 2010, approved in 2012 with a five-year expiry period.
But the development consent is still valid: the spokesman said some work was done digging a single footing earlier this year, which counted as commencing construction, so it kept the development consent alive.
Northern residents would remember this was a similar tactic to the one used against council by the developers of the Headlands Hotel. There in 2013, the Stevens Group used a 2004 development consent which had been “activated” by some minor work to avoid some newer conditions council had wanted to impose.
“The proposal for the improvements has been planned since 2010,” the spokesman said. “In early 2017, council began works on the site with the installation of a single pier footing to confirm geotechnical conditions on the site.
“This pier remains as part of the future structure and was inspected by council’s development assessment and certification division. Therefore, the development consent from 2012 has physically commenced and remains active.”