Each month, a group of community-minded locals gather at the Helensburgh Forum to give the town a voice within Wollongong Council.
The Forum is Council-endorsed. The City of Wollongong hires the room so the locals can meet in an organised format to discuss what they want, and the best ways to achieve it. Sometimes 30 people turn up, sometimes, just half a dozen. Ward 1 councillors Leigh Collacino and Greg Petty even get along to a few.
Forum conveyor Neville Bussa has been in the role for several terms, and says while it’s a slow process, it’s an effective way of communicating the needs of the far-northern Illawarra.
“Each Ward has a funding allocation,” says Neville. “We discuss where we feel this will be best-spent, and what we need to improve our community, so we rely heavily on input from locals who attend the meetings.
“Some of our successes include the Bald Hill redevelopment, and the new toilet in Charles Harper Park, which cost Council $250,000. We are making slow but steady progress, but it’s a long haul. We are dealing with Council after all!
“The entire Northern Suburbs needs infrastructure,” says Neville. “Our forum gives us the chance, as a united front, to put forward what we need and how we would like it delivered. At the moment, a lack of parking in the town is a high priority. We have been saying for years the shortage needs to be addressed. Thanks to the Forum, Council is aware and can at least start to think about providing a solution to the problem.
The Helensburgh Forum meets on the second Wednesday of every month (except December and January) at 7pm at the Community Centre and everyone is welcome.
THE HELENSBURGH FORUM WISH LIST…
The Helensburgh Town Plan has been on Councils list for considerable time and now the CBD of Helensburgh has development that has been approved or is being talked about in the town and there is no plan for the Helensburgh CBD and that street scape of the CBD to guide DA applications. Request is therefore made that funds be allocated for the development with the community of a Helensburgh CBD Town Plan and Street Scape plan.
2. Pedestrian Crossing – Parkes St Helensburgh west of Side of Walker St at Roundabout
A full marked and signed Pedestrian Crossing on Parkes St west of Walker St at the roundabout to allow pedestrians to cross Parkes St safety to and from the Post Office, only financial institution in Helensburgh, Illawarra Credit Union and other retail and community facilities including the only public toilet in Helensburgh is requested to be included in the plan for 2015-16. This pedestrian crossing has been requested before by the community of Helensburgh and been refused based on pedestrian crossing numbers but there has been a pedestrian crossing at Stanwell Park included in the upgrade of the Stanwell park CBD which has far less pedestrian numbers.
3. Walker St revitalisation
Walker St though the CBD of Helensburgh – members of NF1 request that the CBD area of Walker St be listed in the annual plan for revitalisation from Lilyvale St though to Parkes St with footpaths, trees, tree roots, retaining walls and additional parking being looked at.
4. Gill Creek Pedestrian Bridge
Pedestrian bridge over Gills creek alone side the widened road bridge for pedestrians to cross gills creek and a pedestrian bridge over the tributary of gills creek that is approximately 80 metres north of the Grills Greek road bridge and travels under the roadway via pipe are requested for inclusion in the Annual Plan and Budget for 2015-16.
Walker St is use daily by residents for their daily walker / exercise and this fits under the 2022 Goal of We are a healthy community in a liveable city.
5. Footpath Continuation from Cemetery Rd to Lilyvale St along Parkes St eastern side
This has been asked for a number of times in the past and is asked that that a footpath along the eastern side of Parkes St from Cemetery Rd to Lilyvale Road be added to the capital budget for 2015-16 to complete the missing link. Walking on the uneven and in some placed rough forcing walkers to the roadway.
6. Charles Harper park – Commemorative tree replacement
The pine trees in Charles Harper Park were planted in commemoration of the servicemen from the Helensburgh area that did not return from World War I and are now a danger to the public from falling limbs and even falling trees. These need to be replaced with more suitable trees. A request is therefore made that Council consider the removal of the pine trees and replacement of the memorial trees in the annual Plan for 2015-16. That this be done in conjunction with the Helensburgh Sub Branch of the RSL and Helensburgh Historical Society.
7. Council Child Care Centre Parking – Cnr Walker St and Lilyvale St
There is no parking for parents dropping off or picking children from the Council owned Helensburgh Child Care Centre and parents are having to content with street traffic in Walker and Lilyvale Streets with trying to find parking to take their children to and from the preschool centre. Construction of such a facility today would not be allowed without any parking. It is therefore asked that Council include in the Annual Plan for 2015-16 funding and project to develop parking for the preschool centre after all it is a Council Own facility without any parking.
8. Street lighting – Princes Highway from Motorway roundabout to Parkes St
Funding be included in the annual plan for street lighting from Lawrence Hargrave Drive to Parkes St along Princes Highway.
9. Helensburgh Library and Community Centre replacement
Helensburgh Library has been housed I a temporary demountable building for over 25 year and needs to have a proper Library building with parking and access for all the 7000 residents of the 2508 area. At the same time the Helensburgh Community Centre shows signs of age and needing replacement including parking as currently there is no parking for the Helensburgh Community Centre. The request is made that the Annual Plan and Budget for 2015-16 include a new Community Centre and Library with suitable parking for Helensburgh and the 2508 area.
10. Walker St widening – from Old Quarry Circuit to Whitty Rd including creek crossing
Walker St was widened from Old Quarry Circuit to Cemetery Rd with the development of the housing estate in that location but the remaining of Walker St from Old Quarry Circuit to Whitty Rd has remain narrow and needs widening to help with traffic as passing of large vehicle when cars are parked on the eastern side is dangerous. There is sufficient space available with the open drain, which could be enclosed and the lane of Walker street on the western side of the drain. It is therefore requested that the widening of Walker St from Old Quarry Circuit to Whitty Rd, including the creek crossing and enclosing of the open drain be included in the Annual Plan and Budget for 2015-16
11. Otford causeway monitoring for closure due to flooding
The cause way has been flooded in the recent rains but is not monitored by Council and it is up to residents to contact Council when the causeway is flooded to request it be closed. There is also no barrier that can be closed to prevent vehicles trying to cross as there is at Audley Weir. There is no indication that the Otford causeway is closed at the top of Otford Rd at Helensburgh (at Werrong Rd) at vehicle have to travel down the steep hill to the causeway and if it is a large vehicle like a bus, turn that vehicle around at the causeway at the bottom of the steep hill has been a problem in the past. As this causeway has had fatalities in the past the request is made that, in the Annual Plan and Budget, a monitoring system is put in place for the Otford causeway with barriers at the causeway and an electronic sign at the top of Otford hill (at Werrong Rd) and also at Otford Rd at the railway bridge on the eastern side, to warn that the causeway is closed.
12. Additional Parking Helensburgh Railway Station
Helensburgh Railway Station carpark is parked out by 7:00am each weekday morning and then the commuters, both local residents and residents from outside the Helensburgh area, park on the local streets fanning out from the railway station effecting local streets. The effect is that the local streets and particular Vera St become parked out with buses
13. Road to Helensburgh Station – Vera St widening and footpath for Pedestrians
14. Stanwell Park Beach Reserve Kiosk replacement
The Kiosk building at Stanwell Park Beach Reserve has far outlive its life as a kiosk in a high tourist reserve and needs to be replaced with a new building for the kiosk and residence.
Request is therefore made for a replacement building for the Stanwell Park Beach Reserve Kiosk to be placed on the capital budget for 2015-16 for at least design and for construction in 2016-17 budget.
15. On Call Green Waste pickup
Suggest by residents that in a similar process to the On Call Household Waste collection that residents receive two on call green waste pickup per year for collection of tree and bush cutting.
16. Green Waste Bins for Businesses – especially those that are required by DA approval to have gardens.
17. Sewage line for bald Hill Redevelopment to go down Otford Rd and not over Bald Hill to Stanwell Park. Council is supposed to look at what benefits to residents / ratepayers the actions taken by council give. In the case of the sewage line for the redevelopment of the Bald Hill site, going over Bald Hill and down to Stanwell Park means the pipeline would travel though bush land (E1 zoned National Park ) to Stanwell Park and join the low pressure sewage system in Stanwell Park and be pumped to Otford for pumping to Helensburgh in to the gravity sewage system benefiting no residents / ratepayers. Taking the sewage line down Otford road not only keep any potential break in the line away from National Park lands but would also allow residents/ ratepayers on Otford Rd to connect to the low pressure line and reduce the head pressure of the line. As the Bald Hill redevelopment is in the 2015-16 budget year it is asked that the route of the low pressure sewage from Bald Hill be reallocated to run down Otford road in consideration of the potential for possible pipeline break and pollution of a National Park area, reduced head pressure and potential reduced cost in a trench and fill alone the side of Otford road.
18. All weather footpath and vehicle bridge to replace Otford causeway
19. Widening of and clearing of overhanging trees on Darkes Forest Rd and reduced speed limit to 80 kph
Many trucks and cars service and travel Darkes Forest Rd The road is narrow with many overhang trees,I have had many reports over many years that when two large vehicles meet one is forced to hit trees to avoid an accident This has happened on several occasions when trucks and the school bus meet as well. The speed of vehicles along Darkes Forest road has also become an issue. The clearing and widening of Darkes Forest Rd is requested to be included in the Annual Plan and Budget for 2015-16 and the speed limit on Darkes Forest Rd be limited to 80kph with signage and road marking.
20. No Stopping zone along both sides Walker St from Temple Rd to Lawrence Hargrave Drive.
A number of times a year with events at the temple in Temple road Helensburgh vehicles are parked on the section of Walker St between Temple road and Lawrence Hargrave Drive making it difficult to travel this section of roadway and at time reducing the roadway to a single lane for both directions. On events at the temple in the past year or so there appear to not have been any traffic plan for the large increase in vehicles attending the events. No Stopping Zone on both sides of Walker St suitably sign posted would prevent this occurring and is requested to be including in the plan and budget for 2015-16.