Users of a public changing room were left furious after discovering a surveillance camera positioned above a busy women’s change room.

A camera was recently installed at the Oak Park amenities block in Cronulla, south of Sydney, as part of a council ocean safety initiative, but the move has been met with hesitation from locals.

One described it unbelievable that a camera had been placed in the unorthodox location and in a post to social media raised concerns that it was capturing images of women and children as they change.

“If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I couldn’t have possibly believed this was even real. I had to walk back out and in, three times, to make sure my own eyes were not playing tricks on me,” the woman said.

She acknowledged the camera had been installed to monitor the unpatrolled nearby “Sandshoes” surf break but disputed that it couldn’t also see into the change rooms.

“The issue we have here is simply that this huge camera has been installed on the top of the wall of the women’s bathrooms, showers and change rooms, and if I can see that whole black camera with my eyes, while I’m standing in here, then it can see me,” she wrote.

“This is a space where women shower, walk around naked, get changed, and also shower their little children, and in summer it’s full. All we want here is to feel safe. And I’m sorry, but this is not it.”

The matter was raised by residents with Sutherland Shire Council which has since addressed community concerns, revealing it would be installing a screen.

“Council has installed an additional camera on the amenities block at Oak Park and soon at Shelly Park, as part of our Ocean Safety and Lifeguard CCTV Coastal Safety Surveillance Network. This installation will enable continuous monitoring of the adjacent coastal regions from the Lifeguard headquarters, enabling swift response from Council lifeguards and surf lifesaving volunteers in the event of an emergency,” a spokesperson said.

“This latest enhancement to our Ocean Safety and Lifeguard CCTV Coastal Safety Surveillance Network is focused on maintaining surveillance on our coastline and is not capable of recording images in the adjoining amenities block.

“In response to concerns raised by some local residents, Council plans to install additional screening behind the camera and/or adjust its position to provide further reassurance to those who use this amenities block and to combat any further misapprehension about the use of surveillance in this location. These works will be conducted before this camera is made operational.”

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