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Albion Park fencing furore tops angst list

Jim McCallum has handed over the reins after eight years. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERFrom the multimillion-dollar Destination Albion Park project to the controversial RTA fence that almost ‘‘killed the town’’, it was an eventful eight years as president of the Albion Park Chamber of Commerce for Jim McCallum.
Nanjing Night Net

As much a community group as it is a business chamber, Mr McCallum handed over the reins of the organisation to long-time secretary Graeme Morrison at last month’s annual general meeting.

Mr McCallum, the proprietor of Ravensthorpe Guesthouse – and former Illawarra soccer star and jingle writer – said the main reason he joined the chamber was to gain some insight into the local area, after shifting from Mt Kembla.

The controversial barrier on Tongarra Rd angered pedestrians and Albion Park business people.

His interest was initially sparked by Delmo’s controversial proposal for a $376 million Illawarra Regional Business Park, an industrial development ‘‘now dead in the water’’.

He said his time as president started with the Child Friendly by Design project, before Destination Albion Park took priority.

He was happy with the result of the multimillion-dollar project and paid tribute to former Shellharbour Council administrator David Jesson for ending what he believes was negativity towards Albion Park shown by the council.

Shellharbour Council’s development control plan for Albion Park was viewed as another victory for the chamber, but it was the controversial pedestrian safety fence on Tongarra Road built in 2011 that created the most angst.

‘‘The fence went in on a whim,’’ he said.

‘‘In the eye of the RTA safety officer it was a ‘must do’ thing, but the reality is a fence like that is death for a town.

‘‘It cut income to some businesses by 40 per cent.

‘‘People are recovering, but you can never get back what was lost.’’

Moving forward, the chamber is facing new challenges in the form of the proposed Albion Park Rail bypass and linking that with a Albion Park bypass on Tripoli Way.

Mr McCallum plans to remain on the chamber executive and will maintain his roles with Shellharbour Tourism and the South Coast Regional Tourism Organisation.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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