A waterfront reserve in the Illawarra has been expanded following the removal of a derelict building on Crown land.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the $400,000 project was funded under the NSW Government’s COVID-19 stimulus program.

“The expansion of this beautiful shaded spot, which looks over the entrance to Lake Illawarra, is a great addition to Edith Lacey Park,” Mrs Pavey said.

“The project involved the restoration of 550 square metres of land near Club Windang to benefit the community, while protecting important Aboriginal relics on site.”

The work involved an Indigenous company from Nowra, ALI Civil, removing a two-story block of derelict units at 17 Judbooley Parade, as well as weeds and dead trees.

Landscaping was carried out in consultation with the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, including an open-space grassed area with trees and native shrubs.

“We had to remove the building by hand to protect Aboriginal middens that were buried on the site, with six Indigenous workers employed on the project,” ALI Civil managing director Darren Brown said.

“We found many shells with charcoal marks, so it was clearly a place where ancestors enjoyed fishing and feasting.

“Once we removed the building material, we returned the middens to their earth and covered them in a ‘geofabric’ of soil, so they’re protected forever.”