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Speak Now, or Forever Hold Your Peace

By Siriol Dafydd on September 26, 2019 in News

The old girl could certainly use a facelift, by John Koestner.

When the current Bronte Surf Life Saving Club was built, the club had around 250 members. Now, forty-five years later, this local gem is bursting at the seams with community participation and membership is now nearing 2,000 across men, women and nippers.
But so much more than membership numbers has changed in the last forty-five years. Contemporary surf life saving is different from what it was four decades and countless industry advancements ago, and the Bronte SLSC today is so much more than just life-savers and first aid.
As a central hub for socialising, surf safety and community facilities, the Bronte SLSC building needs a bit of a facelift to say the least. That’s why the club has partnered with Waverley Council, as well as the state and federal governments, to pump $9 million into its redevelopment.
The current building will be completely demolished and a new, sustainable building will be built in its place. The new club will provide facilities specifically designed for life saving and first aid purposes, as well as accessible public amenities, administrative offices, a kiosk, gymnasium, function room and training and meeting rooms. In addition, Waverley Council’s lifeguard tower will be relocated to a more suitable location in accordance with requirements and recommendations set by Surf Life Saving Australia. The promenade will also be upgraded for visitors and local users of Bronte Beach to enjoy.
Waverley Council itself is pumping $4.625 million into the project (over half the total estimated budget) and a joint project control team made up of club and council representatives will oversee proceedings. Meanwhile, Bronte SLSC is contributing $2.03 million to the project and the state and federal governments are chucking in $345,000 and $2 million respectively.
Waverley Mayor John Wakefield told The Beast, “Waverley Council is very proud to be delivering a state-of-the-art facility so that Bronte Surf Life Saving Club can continue its tradition of helping keep our beaches safe since 1903.”
“The project will result in significant improvements to amenities, provide better lifeguard facilities, improve workplace health and safety requirements and will ensure the service the club provides to the community will continue into the future,” he said.
Club President Basil Scaffidi hopes the new facility will benefit the entire community by helping to attract more new members and lifesavers.
“This new building will cater for the ever-increasing demands of life saving operations, all year training and better interaction with the community,” he explained.
But while funding has been allocated and the project is confirmed to be going ahead, the building design is yet to be finalised. This is where we get to pipe up and have our say.
The project will be open to community consultation on two separate occasions. The first opportunity to have your say is from September 16 to October 6, so if you’ve grabbed your copy of The Beast hot off the press you’ll have plenty of time to provide feedback now. Otherwise, the second opportunity to share your opinions on the new building will be from November 19 to December 6, 2019. The community feedback will inform the design of the new clubhouse and shape the vision for the overall project. Once all of these details have been ironed out and the design has been finalised, construction is expected to commence some time in mid-2020.
If you’ve got some big opinions about this new building, don’t wait for the final coat of paint to dry before piping up and having a moan. Get your thoughts off your chest now and help shape the future of Bronte… literally.