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Surf Club Redesign Raises Concerns

By Nicola Smith on May 18, 2020 in News

Too big for Bronte? photo: CHROFI Architects

Plans to renovate the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club have moved to the second stage of community consultation, with Waverley Council calling on residents to submit feedback on the proposed new building.
Under the plan, the current clubhouse, which is over 45 years old, will be demolished to make way for updated buildings including lifeguard and first aid facilities, a kiosk, gymnasium, meeting rooms, a commercial kitchen and rather large function centre that has been redesigned to face the park and the water.
Male and female change rooms will be built, as well as facilities that meet the training and storage needs of Waverley’s professional lifeguards, as well as the volunteer lifesavers who do patrols from September to April each year.
The promenade will also be refurbished, with new outdoor showers and a separate community facilities building behind the main compound.
Waverley Council Mayor Paula Masselos said that community engagement will continue to be significant in the planning process.
“In 2019, we asked what values and activities were important to the community with regards to this project. Now we’re asking the community for feedback on the design they helped create,” Mayor Masselos told The Beast.
A total of 226 people registered to be a part of the public participation stage 1, however only 80 people responded to the online survey (0.1 per cent of Waverley’s total population of 72,250), of which 37 were club members. The resulting 2019 report revealed that sustainability was of the highest importance to the community, with 91.5 per cent of respondents saying it was important that the building was durable, sustainable and highlighted the natural environment. Council believes that this significance has been reflected in the proposed design.
The new facilities will also accommodate community-driven lifesaving activities like nippers and bronze medallion training, helping to prepare the next generation of lifesavers to patrol Bronte Beach.
President of the Bronte SLSC, Basil Scaffidi, said the club is pleased with the design and how plans are progressing.
“The current clubhouse was built 46 years ago and a lot has changed in that time,” Mr Scaffidi said.
“We are delighted that Waverley Council endorsed this preferred design option and we’re looking forward to hearing how the community responds.”
Mayor Masselos is optimistic about the improvements the current plan will make.
“The exciting building project will result in significant improvements to amenities, provide better lifeguard facilities, open up new view corridors to the ocean, improve workplace health and safety requirements and will ensure the service the club provides to the community will continue into the future.”
There seems to be some support for the proposed design, particularly among club members. However, the plan has raised concern within the local community, with many residents questioning the need for such a large man-made structure on what is arguably Australia’s most beautiful beach. Locals have also questioned the need for a commercial kitchen and function centre in a building that primarily exists to provide a volunteer lifesaving service.
The proposed demolition and redesign of Dave Brown Place, a heritage nominated monument memorialising a Roosters legend and rugby league immortal, has also upset many residents. ‘The Cubes’, as they are affectionately known by locals, are historically and socially significant to many Bronte residents and the spiritual home of the Bronte Boardriders Club, a grassroots organisation that has produced several internationally renowned surfers and Australian champions.

Waverley Council is taking submissions about the Bronte SLSC redesign until June 3. If you would like to have your say, visit