As we launch headlong into the New Year, the battle to retain the heritage of Austinmer Bathing Pavillion continues.
1100 people signed last year’s petition, urging Wollongong City Council to take another look at their plans to remodel and modernise the facility, which has been a part of the Austi beachscape for almost 100 years.
The new plans see $1.7 million spent on significant alterations, including the addition of timber cladding to the external, painted concrete walls.
Wollongong Council also received a further 91 individual responses, calling on them to preserve the building.
The proposal has seen the establishment of the Austinmer Conservation Group, a group of concerned locals, calling on Council to preserve the building’s original design.
“There is a significant proportion of the community that wants the building to retain it’s original form,” says a group spokesperson. “We understand it needs to be refurbished, but we are calling for this to be carried out in sympathy with the existing design.
“Austinmer has always been a seaside resort town and the amenities block reflects the history of the beach and the village. It’s part of our identity.
“Also, Council has been considering the building for heritage listing. We fear if they mess with the design while that process is underway, the building will lose its opportunity to be listed. We just want them to keep the building the way it’s supposed to look!”
A Council spokesperson says an engagement report has been prepared and they can now outline their next steps in the refurbishment process..
“Between now and early February our Design and Technical Services team will put together a revised design,” she says. “This design will respond to community feedback and incorporate modifications including changes to external cladding and seating.
“The external walls will remain as painted concrete only and additional external seating on the northern and southern ends will be added.
“The key challenge for our Design Team is to reconfigure the internal floor layout to best accommodate the range of user needs and comply with standards that a modern amenities facility requires.
“We have taken on board strong feedback about changing the location of the toilets off the eastern wall, and will look at other ways to accommodate the toilets, along with the showers and change space.”
A meeting will be held on-site early next month to discuss the new design with key stakeholders. This meeting will include representatives from the Austinmer Conservation Group. You can follow them on Facebook HERE .
Soon after the meeting, Council will present a revised design and hold an on-site kiosk to discuss the refurbishment, along with other projects planned for the Austinmer Beach precinct.
Image Thanks to Austinmer Conservation Group