‘We’re swamped by tourists, our infrastructure is run down’

Shoalhaven City Councillor Bob Proudfoot at Hyams Beach, a popular Shoalhaven tourism destination, on Monday. Picture: Rebecca Fist
Shoalhaven City Councillor Bob Proudfoot at Hyams Beach, a popular Shoalhaven tourism destination, on Monday. Picture: Rebecca Fist

More Australians are travelling to the South Coast than the Gold Coast, and it’s time to provide the right facilities according to Shoalhaven Councillor Bob Proudfoot.

Cr Proudfoot says the city needs more car parks, toilets, amenities blocks, waste facilities, boardwalks, park and ride facilities and cycleways to cope with the influx of tourists.

Considering people are travelling from across NSW and Australia to the Shoalhaven, Cr Proudfoot is seeking funding from state and federal governments to build these facilities.

“We need $50 million to attempt to address the poor state of tourism infrastructure in the Shoalhaven,” he said.

“What we have is being run down, and often there’s nothing there, it needs to be put in place.

“There needs to be recognition from state and federal governments that this is not simply a council issue.”

A park near Hyams Beach in summer

A park near Hyams Beach in summer

In recent years, the South Coast has overtaken the Gold Coast in domestic tourist visitation.

In the year ending March 2018, there were 3.8 million domestic visitors to the NSW South Coast and 3.4 million to QLD’s Gold Coast.

“We are being absolutely swamped by tourists,” Cr Proudfoot said.

“The tourist season is no longer a short period of time in the summer months; it’s all summer months, the great bulk of autumn and spring and every weekend.

“The answer is not to stop people from coming. We want them here.”

Ulladulla residents are only too familiar with the way the highway morphs into a car park during holiday periods

Ulladulla residents are only too familiar with the way the highway morphs into a car park during holiday periods

Tourism is a major industry in the Shoalhaven, and Cr Proudfoot wants local businesses and workers to continue to capitalise on visitor expenditure.

“It’s all very well for federal and state government to beat themselves on the chest and talk about how many tourism jobs they’ve created, when our beautiful city’s infrastructure is cracking at the seams,” he said.

“We’re fast-approaching crisis point where the Shoalhaven is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia.

“Uncontrolled growth in tourist visitation is impacting our infrastructure and the community in general.

“Places such as Hyams Beach and Ulladulla have shone a light on how inadequate it’s become.”

Parking problems in Hyams Beach last summer

Parking problems in Hyams Beach last summer

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