On 1 November 2008 security gates are to be erected outside the Sewerage Treatment Plant on Port Kembla Road, locking out all non-business related traffic to the northern Port Kembla harbour foreshore area.
This will come at a huge expense to the local community affecting access to the surf break known as "Oilies", as well as to the broader recreational amenity enjoyed by fisherman, swimmers, walkers, photographers, dog walkers, and cyclists for over 30 years.
Thousands of regular users will be displaced. An IRIS survey conducted on behalf of the Port Kembla Coal Terminal found that on an average summer weekend there are 165 vehicle trips per day to the foreshore in this area.
This closure is contrary to the State Government Policy of maintaining community access to foreshore areas. An ever growing Illawarra population, due to urban consolidation as well as promotion of the area as a tourism and day trip destination, the community needs access to more foreshore area for recreation, not less.
The proposed closure is based on dubious security grounds and has involved no public consultation. Whilst there is recognition of the Ports need for security and the important role that the Port plays in economic terms for the Illawarra and the broader national economy, opportunities exist to secure the facility whilst still permitting community access to the foreshore area.
It is incumbent upon industry to be good neighbours, sensitive to the needs of the community. A simple long term solution exists to ensure the foreshore area is retained in public ownership with free access to all.
We, the undersigned, petition the State government to take action to ensure that the Port Kembla Port Corporation boundary is changed to exclude the foreshore area from Coniston Beach to the Port Kembla groyne in this locality and the existing access road be dedicated back to local Council as a public access road to this shore.
The proposed security gates should be installed further south along Port Kembla Road, maintaining security for the Port but not at the expense of public access to the popular foreshore and the groyne.
The Save Public Access to Port Kembla Foreshore petition to NSW State Government was written by Michael Lawler and is in the category Roads & Transport at GoPetition.