The Wooli Hall
The Wooli Hall Nikki Voss

Infrastructure backlog hits Wooli hard

THERE is always work to be done, but Wooli residents feel there is an awful lot that has been forgotten about.

Bruce Bird, Wooli Chamber of Commerce president, said the toilet block in Harold Lloyd Park, near the south terrace, has been closed off for nearly two years.

"The reason council gave us that it was blocked off was that the septic tank was leaking or broken or was not operating correctly," Mr Bird said.

"If it was anyone else's here in Wooli, we would have been serviced notice and we would have been forced, if you didn't, they've pump it out and send you the bill. They've done nothing, it's not been pumped out (as far as we know). All they did to fix it was put a tape around it and shut the doors, and it's still the same way and it's been that way for a year and a half."

"I understand because I am a business person, but you have to put in to get a return, to a certain extent the building down there being a toilet is just a convenience but in the same token, that convenience means there are people who can use the walking track from the wall all the way to the big 4 and they can have a break and go to the toilet without walking down and doing it in the river."

Clarence Valley Council said they have no plans to repair the toilet block according to open spaces and facilities manager Peter Birch.

"It is not viable to repair the existing toilet block at Harold Lloyd Park at the north end of South Terrace," he said.

"It is old infrastructure beyond its useful life and the septic system was failing when in use. Because of its proximity to the river, oyster leases and items of cultural significance it is better to provide improved facilities at another location."


Closed off toilet block in Harold Lloyd Park in Wooli.
Closed off toilet block in Harold Lloyd Park in Wooli. Nikki Voss

Instead, the council plan to upgrade the toilets adjacent to the Wooli Hall, which has it's own issues according to Mr Bird.

"The childcare centre that used to be in (the hall) abandoned it because it's no longer suited for it... the roof is leaking that badly that you can go into it and the roof is brown," he said.

"I understand the council has to be Fit for the Future, I think they've got till 2020/21 to be there, but it seems to me that there is a bit of a knee jerk reaction around it and to try and wind back everything and say well you're going to get nothing until we are right, is not an equitable solution.

"On the side of it there was an additional building built by the community hall committee, and there is now a doctor there once a week and at the back of it, where the CWA, they built their own room on the back, when the CWA here got to the extent that there wasn't enough members to support it but the understanding was if that was the case, it reverted to being a council building... that part of it, the council are getting rent out of because they've rented it to a lady that does beauty treatments."

Mr Birch said there was money in the budget to upgrade the public toilets near the hall, which was a part of a bigger project for the area.

"We have $80,000 in our budget this financial year to upgrade the public toilets adjacent the Wooli Hall. The design is being undertaken and will include accessible unisex toilets," he said.

"We have a further $80,000 to conduct major repairs to the hall roof. It will involve the removal and replacement of the roof sheeting and support structure.

"Council is finalising the design for the roof replacement at the hall and recently applied for grant funding to help that happen. This work is likely to be linked to the upgrade of the adjacent toilet.

"The old amenities at Harold Lloyd Park will be demolished when we do the work at the hall. It could be sooner, but we expect that is likely to be sometime early in the new year."

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