Concrete crash barriers at North Cronulla sign of things to come

Safer spaces: A group of young people find newly installed barriers at the entrance to Peryman Square at North Cronulla have more than one use. Picture: John Veage
Safer spaces: A group of young people find newly installed barriers at the entrance to Peryman Square at North Cronulla have more than one use. Picture: John Veage

Concrete crash barriers have been placed in strategic sites at North Cronulla and more will follow as Sutherland Shire Council boosts safety in public places.

Barriers have been placed at the entrance to Peryman Square, at the bottom of a hill on Kingsway, as well as near North Cronulla surf club.

Safety measures are also planned for Cronulla mall and public events such as the Gymea Village Fair.

Council acts: Tony Little on a concrete barrier on the Esplanade next to the North Cronulla surf club and car park. Picture: John Veage

Council acts: Tony Little on a concrete barrier on the Esplanade next to the North Cronulla surf club and car park. Picture: John Veage

Not wishing to create unnecessary alarm, the council said in a statement barriers were also installed last summer at the entrance to Peryman Square.

“As our community enjoys the beautiful weather and beach culture of Cronulla over the warmer months, pedestrian traffic will increase significantly around Peryman Square,” the statement said.

“Similar to last season, concrete barriers have now been installed at the road entrance to ensure pedestrians remain safe in the shared zone.”

Mayor Carmelo Pesce said the council was also taking into account tragic events elsewhere.

Barriers at the entrance to Peryman Square, at the foot of a hill on Kingsway. Picture: John Veage

Barriers at the entrance to Peryman Square, at the foot of a hill on Kingsway. Picture: John Veage

“I think we need to be aware of what is happening around the world, and to be on the front foot and take precautions,” Cr Pesce said.

“We will also be installing barriers at the northern end of Cronulla mall.

”I am hoping what we have seen in other places never happens in the shire, but we can’t be naive.

Cronulla architect David Vago and the barriers protecting Peryman Square. Picture: John Veage

Cronulla architect David Vago and the barriers protecting Peryman Square. Picture: John Veage

“I would hate for something to happen and then say, ‘I wish we had done more’.”

Cr Pesce said the council had been working with Sutherland and Miranda police local area commanders in reviewing safety in public places.

“It is a direction from NSW Police, and they are doing it right across Sydney,” he said.

Cr Pesce said the council had also been talking to organisers of large public events, including the Gymea Village Fair, which will be held on October 29.

The annual Gymea Village Fair is one of the most popular events on the shire calendar, attracting many thousands of residents.

Cr Pesce said he had suggested that, instead of using concrete barriers to block off Gymea Bay Road, council garbage trucks could be strategically parked.

“I think this is something we could do in situations where there is no need for permanent barriers,” he said.

Cr Pesce said the “chicane” created by the concrete barriers in Peryman Square, North Cronulla, met a range of contingencies, including normal accidents.

“It’s possible a truck could lose it’s brakes or a  driver could have a heart attack coming down the hill towards the square,” he said.

Cr Pesce said while the barriers were removed from that location at the end of last summer, the council would take a different approach next time.

“Some type of barrier will be retained,” he said.

“The council is planning to upgrade Peryman Square and we will look to include in the plans some type of permanent barrier,” he said.

“It may be something quite different, but it will be a permanent feature of that area.”

Cr Pesce said he would also like to see what could be done to brighten up the temporary concrete crash barriers in Peryman Square.

“We might be able to paint them and move them around to make them look more attractive,” he said.

“They are not great to look at now.”