Why are we refurbishing the shelters?
The steel ties within the stonework pillars have corroded, and we put in place temporary posts to tie the roof structures to the ground. The roofing and fascia boards have reached the end of their serviceable life, as has the painted picnic furniture in each shelter. The floor surfaces are uneven leading to pooling of water in the shelters, creating trip hazards and does not allow for easy cleaning by our cleaning work crew. The stonework is also damaged in places and needs repair.
What is the history of the shelters?
These stone picnic shelters in Stuart Park were built by Charles Prior, a local stonemason who also built the stone picnic shelters in Stuart Park. These stone features are typical of parkland infrastructure and design in the period before the 1940s and are in a “Californian bungalow” architectural style.
What heritage values do they have?
The shelters are not currently heritage listed; however they are within a “Heritage Landscape” listing which relates to the Norfolk Island Pines and Canary Island Date Palms within the park. They are of similar design and construction to the picnic shelters in Lang Park which are heritage listed. Council has received a heritage nomination for the listing of the shelters and will progress a draft listing this year.
Our refurbishment plans have been developed as if the shelters are heritage listed. The proposed works would essentially retain and conserve the stone shelters in place, whilst altering the existing roof form by increasing the height of the roof structure above the stone base.
Who has been consulted about our initial ideas?
We sent our initial ideas to a family member of Charles Prior who then consulted with other family members. We also took our ideas to the National Trust and former members of the Wollongong Heritage Advisory Committee. The former Committee was disbanded as is usual practice at the end of the last term of previous Councillors.
We have taken this feedback into consideration when developing our refurbishment plan. We will be incorporating an interpretive sign about Charles Prior as requested by the Prior family. We also made changes to the initial concept we had for the roof height and pillars to better conserve the heritage features as identified by the National Trust.
What changes are proposed?
The existing roof will be demolished and replaced with a new higher roof to let in more light. The new roof will be 400 mm higher. New hardwood beams and struts will support corrugated iron roofing panels, similar to the existing style.
The roof will be supported by new blockwork, with a stainless steel post in the centre to take the load of the roof. This block work sits on top of a concrete pier cap. All these elements will be rendered and painted in “Surfmist” to match the roof colour. This solution is sympathetic to heritage design and intent of the “California Bungalow” style. The light colour is in keeping with heritage themes and will complement the grey-brown of the stone and the timber framing above.
The damaged stone pillars will be repaired by a stonemason qualified to undertake heritage conservation.
The existing concrete slab floor within the shelters will be demolished and a new concrete floor poured.
We will refit with new furniture to match the shelters in JP Galvin Park along the foreshore.
How have we provided better access to and within the shelters?
Each shelter has been designed to allow for better access for people using wheelchairs or other mobility aids to use the tables and benches.
A concrete walkway will be installed between the Stuart Park amenity building and the closest shelter.
When will the works be done?
The works will commence after the busy Summer/Autumn period when the shelters see most use. The works are programmed in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 budgets.
The shelters will be done sequentially to provide ongoing access as much as possible.
How much is the cost of the refurbishment?
Council obtains pre-tender estimates for infrastructure projects that will be tendered out to private contractors. The estimate for this refurbishment is $334, 000.
What are the impacts of the works?
There will be noise from a concrete pump, concrete saw and jackhammer when the existing floor is being removed and a new one installed. Other noise will occur from demolition of the roof, construction of the new roof and repair work to the pillars.
Site fencing will be installed around each shelter and public access will not be possible until construction has been completed and fencing removed.
Works will be staged between shelters so as to reduce the impact on public access to the shelters.