Residents Express Safety Concerns at Thirroul Playground | Mercury of Illawarra

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A north Illawarra adventure play area built in a flood prone area is once again causing community concern after an already deteriorated soft play surface was badly damaged following recent heavy rains. The 10-year-old playground at Thirroul Beach Reserve continues to have problems with its surface, with already widespread potholes turning into giant craters around the play equipment. Read more: The Illawarra suburb identified as most at risk from flooding and climate change “I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen little toddlers stumble while navigating through the huge holes in the ground,” wrote a member of the community on the Thirroul Living Facebook group. “Wonderful addition to Thirroul but in need of repair for some time now – hubby warned council over a year ago but no action,” wrote another. “This whole area is/was wetland/swamp a long time ago,” was another comment. Wollongong City Council wanted to assure residents that they were working on a solution to the problem. “The good news is that we can confirm Council will replace the gentle slope at Thirroul Beach Reserve, with work commencing mid-year,” a spokeswoman said. “We are very proud of our playgrounds, especially since managing our existing playgrounds is a big job with the council looking after 147 playgrounds from Helensburgh to Yallah.” The playground, designed with input from local school children, was officially opened in 2012 and one of the first in the past decade to undergo a major overhaul by the council – which has since pledged to replace, upgrade and repair nearly 150 play spaces in the Local Government Area by 2024. However, past flood studies by the council have designated the area behind the Thirroul Surf Life Saving Club (where the playground) as an area likely to be flooded with water during heavy rains. The council’s spokeswoman said there were still several playgrounds around Wollongong LGA that needed to be upgraded as part of their strategy, but could not say exactly how many. Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery acknowledged on Friday that many of the city’s public spaces looked “worse for wear” after bouts of flash flooding earlier this month. Cr Bradbery, along with chief executive Greg Doyle, said the council’s clean-up efforts are currently focused on sports fields, clearing debris from beaches, clearing culverts and fallen trees, as well as works grinding on steep sand dunes. For any non-emergency repairs, they urged residents to report it online through their website. To read more stories, download the Illawarra Mercury news app from the Apple Store or Google Play.


Harold B. McConnell