Updated | Council queries $11,700 cost of BBQ coal bins in Gunnamatta Park and Shelly Park


Sutherland Shire Council wants more information, including a breakdown of the cost, before proceeding with a trial of coal bins in two parks.

The council's Infrastructure Committee had supported a staff recommendation that funding of $11,700 be considered in the next budget for a trial at Gunnamatta Park and Shelly Park.

However, at the May meeting of the council, it was agreed to return the matter to the committee for further consideration and that a breakdown of the $11,700 capital cost be provided.


Coal bins are likely to be trialled in Gunnamatta Park and Shelly Park in response to problems associated with use of coal-fired BBQs in parks.

Sutherland Shire Council has been exploring options following complaints about indiscriminate dumping of hot coals and ash, along with smoke pollution.

A council committee has supported a staff recommendation that funding of $11,700 be considered for a trial of coal bins at Gunnamatta Park and Shelly Park in the next budget.

The committee further recommended, if the trial is successful, a state government grant be sought for a rollout of coal bins.

Other identified problem areas are Cronulla Park, Oak Park and Roger Summers Reserve in Bundeena.

The final decision is due to be made at the full council meeting on May 20.

A staff report said advice was sought from other councils regarding strategies they use, and a 2014 shire report was revisited.

"The main strategies are the creation of exclusion zones, installation of coal disposal bins, and education and signage," the report said.

"An application to fund these strategies can be made through the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as part of the NSW Council Litter Prevention Grants"

The report said complaints generally concerned:

  • Safety: Coals are being disposed of on the ground, in garden beds or at the foot of taps, with water being used to cool down the coals. This may be a safety and fire risk.
  • Littering: Used coals are often left on the ground;
  • Smoke: Excessive smoke from the BBQs may present a health and nuisance issue as it drifts across the park.

The report said other potential safety issues included smoke inhalation, air pollution, asthma, WHS (workplace health and safety), fire danger and general inconvenience.

"The peak period for the use of portable BBQs is over the Christmas holiday period and public holiday weekends," the report said.

The report said options available to the council included exclusion zones in certain parks and around playgrounds, installation of coal bins and information and education on the use of portable BBQs.

"Installation of coal disposal bins will not alleviate the issue of smoke drift from the BBQs as most of the smoke drift is generated from the actual cooking rather than the coals themselves," the report said.

"The introduction of a 20 metre portable BBQ exclusion zone from homes and playgrounds is seen as a reasonable means to manage the problem of smoke drift in parks.

"The creation of exclusion zones greater than 20 metres would rapidly diminish the available area for BBQs to very limited sections of parks.

"Sutherland Council's approach on the issue of smoke and coal disposal is education first and enforcement second in terms of dealing with problems as they arise."