Illawarra Mercury: Locked out: surfers told to take a hike
Picture by Mercury staff photographer Kirk Gilmore
Steen Barnes is a local surfer and photographer that I know from the Illawarra RedBubble group and he wrote a journal entry about the planned security fence around the area between the Port Kembla Coal Terminal and Ollies beach.
"Alot of my surfing pictures, are taken locally here…..so i need some help if at all possible please read and check website to help, proudly all the photo’s on the site are my own
The latest expansion to the Port of Port Kembla comes at a huge expense tothe local community whom will be locked out of the foreshore area on the northern side of the harbour forever. A range of recreational users including surfers, fisherman, swimmers, walkers, photographers, dogwalkers, and cyclists has been enjoying access to this area for over 30 years. The surf break is known to many as “Oilies”. On 1 November 2008 the current proposal will see security gates erected outside the Sydney Water Wollongong Sewerage Treatment Plant on Port Kembla Road, Wollongong locking out all non-business related traffic to the Port and also the foreshore area. 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 the community access to the foreshore area.
The proposed closure is contrary to the State Government Policy of maintaining community access to foreshore areas and when the gates go in this part of the foreshore will be lost to the community forever.
This area has thousands of users whom will be displaced and 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 and this is without any promotion.
The State Governments policy on urban consolidation will see increased residential densities throughout the Illawarra with a particular emphasis on more multistorey residential developments going in around the Wollongong City centre. This increase in population density will place more pressure on the finite resources of the foreshore areas. The community needs more foreshore area for recreation not less.The latest State and Local Government initiative with the Blue Mile needs to be extended to go the extra mile and secure foreshore access for the community in perpetuity. It is also incumbent upon industry to be good neighbours and respond to the needs of the community rather than being solely motivated by self-interest.
A simple long term solution exists to ensure that this foreshore area is retained in public ownership with free access to all.
What needs to happen is that the Port boundary (a line on a piece of paper) needs to be changed to exclude the foreshore area in this locality and the publically owned private road needs to be dedicated back to Council as a public road. The proposed security gates could moved further south along Port Kembla Road ensuring security to the Port is maintained but not at the expense of public access to the foreshore.
The land in question is already in public ownership as it is owned by the State Government whom control the Port Kembla Port Authority. Come on community – now is the time to put pressure on our State politicians to show some leadership and get community access to the foreshore area secured for generations.
We feel that this matter needs to be brought to the attention of the wider community before this important community asset is lost forever.
On behalf of the Seawall Community Recreation Association"
And on the photo (viewed in the comment below) in the description from steen's redbubble
"This is a local surfspot here in Wollongong. The gong’s premier surfers breed in this area. Its highly industrial, but has some perfect waves to offer an already limited coastline. The state Governement has decided to take this foreshore area away from the public forever. Fisherman, bikeriders, photographers, surfers etc are about to be badly done by. We need help from the wider world community. We have a website www.saveoilies.org there is a petition there that i would love everybody who reads this to sign. it only takes a minute to save a future. So if you can support us please visit
and sign our petition..
thanks soooo much"
Image from a mercury article: