Port Kembla

Wollongong Council is looking to protect its coastline through the development of its Wollongong Coastal Management Program (CMP).

The long-term plan will identify current and future issues along the coastline, coastal creeks and estuaries, and detail actions to address them in partnership with residents, Indigenous Australians, community groups and the New South Wales Government.

At its meeting on 20 March 2023, Council endorsed the Wollongong Coastal Management Program Scoping Study, allowing work to start on Stage 2 of the project.

The development of the CMP requires a phased approach as the complex and detailed document is broken into stages, each of which require research, community engagement and targeted consultation with key stakeholders. 

Wollongong City Lord Mayor, Gordon Bradbery, said having a certified CMP will allow Council to access funding for coastal projects and ensure everyone knows who is responsible for actions that care for Wollongong’s coastline.

“We live on a narrow coastline uniquely wedged between the ocean and escarpment with geotechnical dynamics which can be both benign and beautiful but as we know challenging at times. We need to be strategic and proactive in managing our coastal environment,” Mr Bradbery said.

“Development of a CMP is a five-stage process with the first being to identify the scope.

“In Stage 1, we asked the community what they value about our coastline, how they use it and the challenges they see now and in the future. We spoke to 630 stakeholders at pop-up stalls, workshops, interviews, meetings and by way of an online survey, interactive map, written submissions, and online stories.”

Mr Bradbery said residents told Council what is important about the coast – facilities, social connections, natural environment and the recreational opportunities, also flagging several coastal threats that they are concerned about, including; climate change, population growth, community safety, access to quality infrastructure and facilities, and the degradation of cultural items, places and assets.

“We also spoke with stakeholders from Aboriginal communities to inform, engage, build trust, and connect. This will form a building block for deeper engagement as the project progresses,” Mr Bradbery said.

Mr Bradbery said that the completion of the Scoping Study allows Council to move on with the remaining stages of the project.

Stage 2 will involve a series of studies to obtain new data and update Council’s knowledge base.

Featured image: Wollongong Coast. Provided by Wollongong Council.

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