Where is Cringila Hills?
Cringila Hills is community land south of Jarvie Road including the Cringila Baseball grounds and Community Park. It is a 39.5-hectare area of open space that Council manages on behalf of the community.
What is a Recreation Master Plan and why do we need one?
A Recreation Master Plan gathers the community vision for a recreational space into a concept design.
Over several years, we have been developing a draft master plan with a focus on providing recreational opportunities and amenities to support more community use.
What is the range of recreational activities that we are planning for?
The plan focuses on expanding recreational opportunities for residents, providing for existing uses such as baseball and walking, but adding beginners and intermediate mountain biking trails, a pump track and bike skills park.
A pump track is a small, low lying track with a variety of smooth mounds (‘rollers’) and smooth, high edged corners (‘bermed corners). The aim is to ‘pump’ the bike through the track, gaining momentum without the need for pedalling. Pump tracks can be used for BMX, scooters, skateboards, strider bikes, and roller blades.
A bike skills park is a place where riders can learn and practise a range of skills including bike handling, balancing, small drops and turning.
A total of 11.5km of Mountain Bike trails have been proposed catering for cross country/ trail and gravity riding styles that focus of beginners to intermediate level riders and promotes the safe progression of bike skills in a purpose-built public facility.
3.1km of new walking trails have been integrated into the design to allow pedestrians to walk through the site connecting Shearwater Drive to the play space.
A loop path from the Play space around the Baseball field is proposed to create a an all abilities circuit suitable for walking or children learning to ride.
The existing baseball facilities will be strengthened by upgrading the sporting amenities to incorporate
new change rooms, toilets, and kiosk whilst additional spectator seating is proposed to support game
What other amenities are proposed for the reserve?
We are focusing new amenities in the area between the baseball diamond and the Lackawanna Street entrance. This area would become a “recreational hub” and best suits installing a family bike skills area including pump track, bike skills playground and play space.
We would add picnic settings, shelters, BBQs and water bubblers. Trees would also be planted to provide shade to the area. This will include larger advanced trees to reduce the time taken for them to grow and provide effective shade.
A new carpark is planned adjacent to the existing baseball diamond to provide easy access to the amenities and activity areas.
Note that the existing toilet facility and shelter closer to the Lockwood Street entrance will be retained.
What studies and investigations have guided the master planning process?
There have been significant investigations carried out including site survey, terrain mapping, geotechnical assessment, service location, amenity assessment, site hydrology, bushfire studies, ecological assessments and more recently concept designs for a mountain bike park and walking trails. A soil investigation is also planned shortly to ensure the site is safe for Council’s plans.
What is the site currently zoned?
A large section is zoned for public recreation (RE1 Public Recreation) with objectives to:
• enable land to be used for public open space or recreational purposes.
• provide a range of recreational settings and activities and compatible land uses.
• to protect and enhance the natural environment for recreational purposes.
• to cater for the development of a wide range of uses and facilities within open spaces for the benefit of the community.
A smaller area is zoned to achieve environmental conservation (E2 Environmental Conservation) with objectives to:
• To protect, manage and restore areas of high ecological, scientific, cultural or aesthetic values.
• To prevent development that could destroy, damage or otherwise have an adverse effect on those values.
• To retain and enhance the visual and scenic qualities of the Illawarra Escarpment.
What about the existing playground in the Community Park?
Council is committed to providing quality play spaces across the city that meet the ongoing needs and expectations of our community.
The community have told us that the equipment at Cringila Hills (off the Lockwood Avenue entry) is very underutilised. It has been suggested that the equipment be relocated to a new site adjacent to the Cringila Public School.
We also have budget to add additional equipment and provide nature playscape elements. These could include using logs, stones and other natural materials to provide areas for unstructured play.
How will local children and youth be involved in the Master Plan conversations?
Workshops are being held at local schools, childcare centres and with youth groups.
A team of Council staff will talk with children and young people about their ideas for the play space, bike riding facilities and other aspects of the plan.
The feedback and ideas will be compiled into a report that will be used by the play space designer and recreational planners to inform the final Master Plan.
What is the history of this site?
Local communities of Aboriginal people were the original inhabitants and Traditional Custodians of all land across Wollongong. Traditional Custodians today are descendants of the original inhabitants and have ongoing spiritual and cultural ties to the land and waterways where their ancestors lived.
The site has a more recent history of land clearing for agriculture, quarrying and then stockpiling.
The area known as “Cringila Community Park” has a history of significance to the community over recent decades and has been host to various landscape and cultural projects that reflect the diversity and interest of the community, such as the ‘International Forest’, community bread oven, community garden and custom-built art entrance gates.
The area is also home to the Wollongong Cardinals Baseball Club who have a license with Council for the operation of the baseball field off Lackawanna Street.
What environmental values does this site have? And how will they be protected?
The area has important areas of remnant and regenerating natural vegetation, notably patches of Lowland Dry Subtropical Rainforest (an Endangered Ecological Community) and Acacia Scrub. A Vegetation Management Plan will be prepared for the reserve to guide protection and restoration of this native vegetation setting priorities for weed removal and revegetation.
What about the community oven at Cringila Community Park?
Wollongong City Council is proposing the removal of the ‘Cringila Bread Oven’ that was created in 2005. Council has undertaken an Engineering Assessment and a Public Art Condition Assessment. The assessments have identified issues relating to the structural integrity and public safety and therefore Council is proposing to remove the oven.
How are we managing bush fire risk to surrounding properties?
A bushfire management plan has been completed which sets out measures to be taken to reduce bushfire risk.
Contractors will be employed to undertake hazard reduction activities in the Asset Protection Zone around the reserve.
What steps are we taking to reduce illegal access into the reserve by vehicles and motorbikes and rubbish dumping?
We will install barriers at entry points around the reserve that make it difficult for vehicles, including motor bikes to gain access.
We have recently completed a major clean-up of the area and will monitor known hotspots through inspections by our work crews.