Recent reports published widely indicate that Wollongong is now the third most expensive city in Australia. This indicates the growth and the extent to which people are willing to take advantage of how Wollongong, in the last few years, has crossed the threshold of its past existence as only a ‘utility’ town, serving primarily as a mining port, to evolving much of its appeal as a beach/resort city where the upgrade of shopping centres and precincts, the highly active Crown Street Mall, hatted restaurants and an abundance of café and coffee shops make it a ‘very cool place’ to be.

According to information released by Domain Group, homes in the Greater Sydney region increased 12.2% over the 12 months to the first quarter 2016, while Wollongong saw growth of 13.6% in the same period.

The extent of emerging medium and high rise apartment blocks over the last few years has been rapid – and the number of construction cranes silhouetted across the Wollongong skyline shows no signs of reducing in the foreseeable future.

With this enormous influx of new residents to the area, the supporting infrastructure and community facilities, required to serve the increased population, is growing accordingly – producing additional non-residential property developments across the region. The first-class upgrade of the Win Stadium and Entertainment Centre are good examples of this effect as well as the welcome expansion of the University of Wollongong, especially the accommodation and the Innovation Campus. Then, there’s the Wollongong Private Hospital and the significant upgrade of the existing Public Hospital. The list goes on.

Andrew Wilson from the Domain Group suggests: “Sooner rather than later we’ll consider Wollongong part of Sydney. In most instances these satellite cities also offer a reasonable proximity to the capital city by road and rail; whilst being amongst a scenic or coastal lifestyle when the working day is over. It’s a decision between affording to live in Sydney or drive two hours to work and people are choosing the commute.”

MGAC has participated in accessibility consulting for a portion of Wollongong’s rapid expansion and upgrade while there are many projects, old and new, that maintain access barriers, slip and trip hazards and deficient sanitary facilities that leave the developers, designers, building owners and tenants vulnerable to hefty claims related to discrimination and/or injury.

Wollongong and the South Coast generally, is not specifically served by an ACAA Accredited Access Consultant, prompting MGAC to open a dedicated office in the heart of the city to serve this need. The new office is headed up by John Moulang who has lived and worked on the South Coast for 15 years and has been an accredited senior access consultant with MGAC for over a year. John’s current local projects include four student accommodation buildings at UOW, the Shellharbour Civic Centre and two TAFE upgrades.

Contact John by email at jmoulang@mgac.com.au or by phone on 0419-688 344.