Jul 18

Tourism plan attacked

Destination Wollongong wants Lake Illawarra’s Kully Bay at Warrawong to be a residential, commercial and tourism hub. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERWOLLONGONG ADVERTISER

A community group has slammed Destination Wollongong’s $378 million tourism plan for the city, labelling it a “vision to destroy”.

Destination Wollongong’s vision, unveiled in the Illawarra Mercury on October 29, involves 20 tourism projects, designed to create more than 2000 jobs and attract nearly three million extra visitors.

They include bungee jumping at Bulli Tops, a zip line between the Southern Gateway Centre and Panorama House, a massive Darling Harbour-style wharf at Kully Bay, Warrawong, a ferry service at Belmore Basin, a “sky bridge” over Mount Ousley Road, a museum of flight at Bald Hill, golfing resort at Maddens Plain and an adventure playground at Mount Keira.

Save Our Services Wollongong convener Stephen Spencer said the plan would destroy the Wollongong residents know and love, especially the “wonderful environment of the escarpment, beaches, harbour and Lake Illawarra foreshore”.

“Wollongong is a city in which our recreational amenities have always been operated by members of the community, for the enjoyment of the community,” Mr Spencer said.

“Destination Wollongong’s plans would see all that taken over by large interstate and international businesses whose only purpose is to further their commercial interests.”

Wollongong Greens councillor Jill Merrin said she feared wonderful natural assets would be “turned into a Disneyland”.

She said the city already had fantastic tourism drawcards, such as national parks, cycle paths, escarpment walks, beaches and the arts, that should be promoted before spending on new developments.

But Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the city couldn’t stay still and “lock up everything”.

“We have looked at industries that are going to have a low impact on the environment and tourism is one of those products we can offer,” Cr Bradbery said.

“We need to explore opportunities that bring an economic benefit to the city, that protect the city’s natural assets, provide jobs and a future.”

Cr Bradbery said Wollongong needed a point of difference and that’s what Destination Wollongong was offering.

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