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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Wollongong beach terraces to honour swimming golden girl

Wollongong City Council will name its new North Beach Promenade and Terraces in honour of local swimming superstar, Emma McKeon.

Council said Emma would be honoured by the Wollongong community in recognition of her career to date, including her most recent successes in Tokyo which saw her celebrated as the highest Olympic medal holder in Australian Olympic history.

The new promenade and terraces are currently under construction and are expected to be finished by mid-2022. It will be directly linked to the Blue Mile, and is the area to the east of Diggies North Beach Kiosk and will heads north in front of the North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club.

“This is a fitting tribute to one of our city’s home-grown heroes who has achieved extraordinary levels of success in her sport and career, and yet is so humble about her accomplishments and the dedication it requires to compete at this elite level,’’ Wollongong City Lord Mayor, Gordon Bradbery AM said today.

“This decision has been made in consultation with Emma and the McKeon family and I look forward to welcoming her in Wollongong and walking the promenade and terraces with her, once they’re completed.’’

He said that prior to this evening’s decision, Council undertook two rounds of community engagement – the first where it asked the community for suggestions of how it might like to recognise Emma’s achievements at the Olympics, and then a second round of feedback on the final two options.

Emma McKeon and Chelsea Hodges of Team Australia react after winning the gold medal and breaking the olympic record for the Women’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay Final on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

For the first phase of engagement, more than 200 people put forward suggestions through social media, Council’s online engagement platform through emails and a text message hotline. The ideas included renaming Western Suburbs Pool, the Continental Pools, Blue Mile/Belmore Basin or Allan’s Creek after her. There were a further 70 comments collected in the second phase of engagement where the options of naming North Beach Promenade and Terraces or the Cliff Road viewing platform overlooking the harbour and Continental Pools were considered.

Throughout this process, Council has also consulted with Emma and her family to talk through the diverse suggestions and seek their guidance on their preferences.

Artist’s impression of the promenade and seawall, which is currently under construction.

“It’s exciting to see that, following Council’s deliberations tonight we have finalised that choice and can now move forward on fine-tuning the detail as to how that acknowledgement will take place,” Lord Mayor Bradbery said.

“I would also like to thank all those in our community who took time to put forward their suggestions and ideas on ways to recognise Emma. It’s always positive to hear directly from our community and this was a topic that was clearly close to a lot of people’s hearts.’’

In addition to plans to recognise Emma’s success, Council is also planning to include an activity in its Australia Day 2022 program that will provide residents the chance to acknowledge the efforts of local Olympians and Paralympians.

The seawall project is funded by the NSW Government in association with Wollongong City Council.

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