A group of Stanwell Park residents is considering legal action following Wollongong Council’s decision to press ahead and build the Grand Pacific Cycleway along Murrawal Rd, with work set to start this month.
Council has released a statement confirming the route, saying a review of gradients, constructibility, impact on private property, safety, traffic impacts, heritage, flooding and cost have found the Murrawal Road link is the best route.
The residents have long opposed the proposed route, saying the area is prone to flooding, which will be exacerbated by the wide concrete pathway, and also citing serious safety concerns.
“Council has taken on board feedback collected during the community consultation and made some changes to the plans for Murrawal Road,” says a spokesperson. “These include increasing the size of some drainage pits to reduce water flows into private property during large storm events. Design changes have also been made to reduce entry speeds onto Murrawal Road and to slow traffic into the area.”
However a local resident has grave safety concerns, saying many homes along Murrawal Rd have steep and curving driveways. “This will make it impossible to see a cyclist riding along when we use our driveways,” she says. “We have real fears for the safety of people using this new cycleway if they are forced to ride through this residential area.
“In the afternoon and evenings, the street is lined with cars, making it even more dangerous. We strongly urge Wollongong Council to build the new pathway along Lawrence Hargrave Drive and away from this residential street.”
Residents are also objecting to the visual impact of the proposed pathway, saying two meters of grey concrete will detract from the beauty of the road, removing much of the grass and trees from the existing footpath and nature strip area.
A resident-spokesperson says they will investigate Wollongong Council’s legal obligations and responsibility should there be an accident on this stretch of the route. They are also looking into taking legal action in the Land and Environment Court in a bid to stop the construction of this section of the multi-million dollar Wollongong City Council project.
Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM says the completion of this vital link between the villages of Coalcliff and Stanwell Park will bring benefits to the local community.
“Based on the findings of the report, work may commence on the Murrawal Road section of the Grand Pacific Walk this month, with the intent for it to be complete by the end of summer,” Cr Bradbery says.
“I’d like to thank all those people that provided feedback to Council throughout this process.
“I acknowledge there are some residents who will disagree with this decision. I believe the final outcome will deliver a considerable benefit to the area and having a safe shared way linking Coalcliff and Stanwell Park will provide a longer term benefit to the community.”