Orient Point shortchanged in skate park transaction

Curley's Bay skate and recreational park taking shape. Picture: Marc Thompson
Curley's Bay skate and recreational park taking shape. Picture: Marc Thompson

Some Orient Point residents believe they have drawn the short straw, with upgrades happening around the corner at Curley's Bay, and downgrades taking place at home.

A new skate and recreational park is being built at Curley’s Bay near the boat ramp.

Playground facilities are being moved, and two fully functional men’s and women’s toilet facilities at Orient Point will be replaced with a single, unisex toilet at Curley’s Bay.

Orient Point resident Pat Lambert has concerns about the new site.

“Moving the play equipment from the present site to the boat ramp is asking for accidents to happen,” Mrs Lambert said.

“The boat ramp is a very busy place – with cars and trailers and of course boats are being launched and removed from the river.

“The playground has no traffic in the immediate area and therefore is safe for children.

“People walk their dogs, kids play, and people picnic beside the river, with the views to Coolangatta and Greenwell Point, they use the toilet too.”

Council addressed safety concerns by placing bollards beside the road, and installing a traffic island to help kids cross the road safely.

Mrs Lambert wrote a letter to raise the issue with the South Coast Register, prompted by a report from Culburra Beach Progress Association president Robert Shimmen.

His concerns were not about safety, rather, about council downgrading Orient Point facilities off the back of a rate rise.

“Many questions need to be asked in Orient Point,” Mr Shimmen said.

“The children’s play equipment is proposed to be moved to the boat ramp area to make it easier for council to decommission these toilets.

“This is being done by our council even though the community has informed them that these facilities are warranted and are already constructed, and is not a major expense to maintain and clean, considering this council claims it has increased the rates to build and maintain infrastructure throughout the whole of the city.”

Bushcare also wrote to council in December, expressing their concerns for transfer of resources with the Orient Point and Culburra toilets.

A council spokesperson used population data to defend the decision to decommission the toilet.

“The Culburra Beach-Orient Point area has a population of 3550 from 2016 census,” the spokesperson said.

“The same precinct has nine of council’s 119 public amenities. That is an average of one toilet location for each 395 persons. The Shoalhaven has a population of 101,777. That is one toilet location for each 855 persons.

“The nearest public amenity is 540m from the proposed facility to be decommissioned.

“Council has over 100 playground sites at local parks that do not have a public toilet.

“Council undertook a random utilisation survey at the Orient Point Reserve public amenities (toilets) on the February 20, 2018 from 10am till 3.15pm on a Tuesday. 

“There were no recorded patrons that used the facility.”