Our focus is our community and the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers, their families and our community.
That is why, from close of business tomorrow, Tuesday 24 March, we will be making a series of changes to the way the public interact with our services and facilities.
We appreciate some of these changes will cause disruption to the daily life of our residents, but we have made this difficult decision to try and reduce the risk faced by our community’s vulnerable community members, and to support the Federal and State government’s social distancing measures.
We will be closing the following services 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, and mobile library services will continue.
- Wollongong Art Gallery.
- Wollongong Youth Centre.
- The indoor pool, gyms, spa and sauna and hall at Beaton Park and Lakeside Leisure Centres. Selected outdoor services and functions remain open.
- All community facility buildings.
- Wollongong Council’s Friday Men’s Shed
- Volunteering Illawarra.
The following key services will remain open:
- All outdoor pools with lifeguard services, including chlorinated pools, and the Continental, Thirroul and Port Kembla saltwater pools.
- Lifeguard services on all 17 patrolled beaches.
- Wollongong Botanic Garden remains open. However, the Friends of the Botanic Garden program, and all public programs, are suspended until further notice.
- Russell Vale Golf Course
- Wollongong Memorial Gardens and Cemeteries
- Wollongong Tourist Parks. However, the tourist parks offer reduced caravan and camping options with a focus on supporting those already using the facilities.
These changes come into effect from close of business tomorrow, Tuesday 24 March 2020, and are in line with our community-oriented, risk-based approach to the delivery of our services during this challenging time. They build on the modifications to selected services we announced last week and will remain in place until further notice.
We will continue to review and respond to updated advice, and the revised measures we are deploying today are flexible. They can be further scaled, should we need to, so that we’re able to continue to meet community needs and expectations in this rapidly changing space.
These service changes reflect advice from government authorities, and are consistent with our focus on protecting vulnerable members of our community and protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers, their families and our community.
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 will no longer be accepted.
Council’s Community Transport services will continue to support essential services, such as trips to attend medical appointments or shopping for necessities such as food. Respite services for Carers will also continue. Advice will be provided directly to our customers and volunteers, but customers can also contact our Community Transport and Social Support teams to confirm service arrangements.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM thanked the community for their ongoing support and understanding of the measures Council is putting in place.
“I understand these are concerning and difficult times,” Cr Bradbery said.
“As a community we need to support each other and take appropriate steps to protect one another from this virus. That not only includes following social distancing measures, and the NSW Health’s guidelines for health and hygiene, but also making some difficult decisions about services.
“I appreciate some people may feel that the steps we’ve taken may seem extreme, but the decisions we’re making proactively are focussed on looking after the most vulnerable in our community. These steps are part of a broader focus for Council on ensuring we continue to deliver our core responsibilities and to meet our community’s expectations. And in Wollongong, caring for our community is something we’re all very good at.”