Monday, April 22, 2024

Kiama finds funds to finish surf club build

Kiama Municipal Council has announced it will invest $370,000 in the construction of the new Gerringong Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), with further funds requested by the club to be referred to Council’s 2024/25 budget process for consideration, should no other funding alternatives can be found.

The Council says the funds are being provided to help with the extra costs incurred by the Gerringong SLSC following the discovery of asbestos contaminated material at the building site.

Director Infrastructure & Liveability, Michael Malone said Council’s contribution would ensure the Club could complete the project.

“Surf clubs play an important part in Australian coastal communities, providing beach patrols, water safety training through Nippers programs, sporting and recreation activities and are a social focal point for many,” Mr Malone said.

“Providing this funding, while a significant cost to Council, ensures our local network of surf clubs remains intact, without impacting on our ability to meet our existing capital program commitments.”

Gerringong SLSC President Gary George said: “The Surf Club is pleased with this result and we commend Council for stepping in to help assist with this unforeseen expense.“

“Gerringong SLSC has overseen the design, development and approval process for this project over the past two years and were successful in securing $5.9 million in Federal and State grant funds to ensure its successful implementation. The discovery of contaminated materials on site has created a challenge; however, the site is now fully remediated. Gerringong SLSC is appreciative of Council’s contribution towards these costs which will enable construction works to continue as originally planned.”

“The Club looks forward to delivering a new state of the art facility for the benefit of the local community,” Mr George said.

Kiama Council Chief Executive Officer, Jane Stroud said, while Council commends the Club on its proactive work, there are several important lessons to be learned in terms of community driven replacement of Council owned-facilities versus planned strategic replacement and renewal of Council assets.

The former clubhouse.

“Council has requested direct involvement in the project control group (PCG), to partner with Gerringong SLSC and support their investment in the project,” she said.

“We are looking forward to seeing a more robust partnership with Gerringong SLSC going forward in the development of this important community asset that will ultimately sit on Council’s balance sheet and become a Council asset.”

Designs for the new clubhouse.

Ms Stroud said the case would also be instructive for other sports clubs in the area who are looking to undertake similar work.

“We hope this half-million-dollar shortfall serves as an important lesson and a model for better collaboration in future community projects. Council is keen for genuine partnerships with community groups to deliver the best outcomes for all.”

Mr Malone said: “Council’s support not only provides our community a brand-new facility, but also provides our beach-going residents and visitors with a volunteer beach patrol base with the required emergency equipment storage.”

He said there was also an estimated $180,000 worth of public facilities included in the new Gerringong SLSC, including:

  • Accessible public toilets;
  • Upgraded public parking;
  • Outdoor showers and bike rack.

The $370,000 will be introduced to Kiama Council’s Capital Budget – Building & Facilities from the Development Contributions Reserve and Unexpended Grants Reserve.

Any further amount required, that cannot be funded from other sources, will be considered as an inclusion for future Council budgets, the Council said.

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