Playgrounds and selected pools to reopen, flags back at North Beach
Wollongong City Council’s playgrounds and skateparks have reopened today, Friday 15 May, flags will go up at North Wollongong Beach on Saturday 16 May, and three of our pools will welcome swimmers back next week under changes permitted through an updated NSW Public Health Order.
Our staff have begun to remove tape from playgrounds and will update signage in public spaces after Council today received formal advice from the NSW State Government which made clear the legal permissions allowed under changes to the NSW Public Health Order.
While children and families can return to Council’s playgrounds and skateparks, and outdoor fitness equipment is available once again everyone is being asked to stick to public health guidelines, and physical distancing advice, while they’re using the slides, swings and nature play areas.
“The steps to reduce the severity of the Public Health Order will, I know, be welcomed by people who want more opportunities to get out and about, but I ask everyone to do so with caution,’’ Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.
“Coronavirus continues to be a real risk and a threat to our community, and we can’t be complacent. These changes will allow people to move more freely but they should do so while continuing to follow health and hygiene practices and maintaining physical distancing.’’
Lifeguards will return to North Wollongong Beach at 9am on Saturday 16 May, and will resume standard winter supervision hours of 9am-4pm on seven days.
Preparation is also underway to reopen the Continental Pool, and Corrimal and Dapto heated pools next week. From early next week a booking system will be in place for swimmers who will be able to reserve a 30-minute swimming slot at one of the facilities. In line with the NSW Public Health Order, the change rooms will remain closed, the toilets will be open and only one person per swim lane is permitted. In addition to the 30-minute swim booking, users will be encouraged to arrive 5 minutes before their allocated timeslot, and will have 15 minutes after their time in the pool on the pool deck for drying and dressing. As we work through the new process we will continue to monitor and review the pool operations to ensure they’re meeting the updated health regulations.
“The changes to our playgrounds and skateparks, the flags going up at North Wollongong Beach and the reopening of selected pools are steps many in our community will welcome,’’ Cr Bradbery AM said.
“However, the NSW State Government have clear guidelines in place to support the updated Public Health Order and they stipulate we must continue to follow physical distancing guidelines, we must continue best hygiene practices and to continue effectively washing our hands, containing sneezes and using tissues, and to stay home if you are sick. We are not out of the woods with Coronavirus and it is important we continue to do the best by everyone in our community – especially our vulnerable members.’’
Council manages more than 140 playgrounds and while they are reopened for use, there will be no change to the playgrounds’ cleaning regimes.
“The NSW Premier has made it clear we need to continue to work together to meet the challenge Coronavirus poses,’’ Cr Bradbery said.
“And while we’re opening the playgrounds themselves making alterations to the playgrounds’ cleaning regimes there are no sterile public spaces or services. Don’t assume it’s any different from any hard surface in a public space or facility. We need everyone to work together and do the right thing by following the updated health and hygiene advice
“I know some people will be champing at the bit to let their kids loose in the playground, while others will be more reluctant. To that I say to parents and carers it’s your call but there is no opting out of the hygiene and physical distancing requirements. Do the right thing for you and the ones you love.’’
We are working with local providers and staff through the updated requirements around funerals and gatherings at in our cemeteries, and at the chapels at Wollongong Memorial Gardens. The changes include the number of people who may attend the service, and the need to capture the details of all people at a service. Further information and updates on any changes will be shared over the coming days.
Services and facilities that remain unchanged at this time include the closure of Council’s Administration Building and Customer Service centre (Customer Service is available online and over the phone), Beaton Park and Lakeside Leisure Centres, and all Wollongong City Libraries.
We will remove the barriers placed to restrict and reduce access to the Bald Hill car park on Monday 18 May 2020.
The following services are closed to the public:
- Wollongong City Council’s Administration Building.
- Council’s Customer Service Centre. The team will be available online and over the phone only.
- Our libraries – our online services will continue to be available through the Library’s website.
- Wollongong Art Gallery.
- Wollongong Youth Centre.
- Beaton Park and Lakeside Leisure Centres.
- All community facility buildings (excluding childcare centres and those Centres providing approved essential services)
- Wollongong Council’s Friday Men’s Shed
- Volunteering Illawarra
- Wollongong City Council’s interpreter service
The following key services are open or reopening:
- All playspaces, outdoor fitness equipment and skateparks
- Russell Vale Golf Course, pro shop and social club – with restrictions in place
- Supervised swimming pools at the Continental, and Dapto and Corrimal heated pools (from next week)
- North Wollongong Beach – from 9am, Saturday 16 May
- Wollongong Botanic Garden, remains open. However, the Friends of the Botanic Garden program, and all public programs, are suspended until further notice.
- Wollongong Memorial Gardens
- Wollongong Tourist Parks. The parks will be closed to anyone who is not a long-term guest, or in the case of our self-contained cabins, someone who needs accommodation for the purpose of essential travel only. Campsites will no longer be available, new caravan sites will not be hired and public amenities have been closed.
- Council staff will remain working at this time, to support ongoing service delivery.
- There will be no changes to household waste collections and Wollongong Waste and Resource Recovery Park (Whyte’s Gully) will remain open. However, payment at the Park will be by card only. Cash is no longer be accepted.
- Council’s Community Transport services will continue to provide essential services, such as trips to attend medical appointments or shopping for necessities such as food. Respite services for Carers is available to existing customers. Please contact our Community Transport and Social Support teams to confirm service arrangements. Staff are contacting customers and volunteers on a regular basis to check on their health and wellbeing.