State Government Funding is being put to good use by lifesaving clubs around the state to improve facilities, as the need for their services grow year-on-year.
Already this financial year, there have been over 300 rescues and over 50,000 preventive actions performed by lifesavers from the 57 clubs around Victoria, covering a geographic spread from Australia’s only inland lifesaving club at Mildura, to the bayside beach clubs in Melbourne and those down the coasts from Apollo Bay to Waratah and along Mornington Peninsula to Portsea.
“The demand on volunteer lifesaving services continues to increase,” says Andrew Foran, General Manager Lifesaving Development. “The State Government has prioritised our clubhouse development in response to these increased demands. Funding is being put to good use as our clubs seek to ensure their facilities can cope with the increased need for storage of critical lifesaving equipment and room to train, ensuring our lifesavers are patrol ready.”
One club to receive funding is Portsea Surf Life Saving Club, whose members are celebrating after the demolition of their existing clubhouse just before Christmas. Building works on the new clubhouse are set to begin at the end of January.
“It’s been a long five years to get to this point and everyone is just really excited to finally see the project get underway,” says Portsea SLSC President Stuart Rayner. “We’re greatly looking forward to moving into our new abode come 4th December 2018.”
Jan Juc Surf Life Saving Club and Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club re-developments are not too far behind, with both currently in the final stages of detailed design prior to going to building tender. Jan Juc has also engaged a demolition contractor and the early stages of demolition have begun.
“The new club will enable us to enact our strategic plan and take it into the next period of club growth, which will cater for the ever-growing population of both Torquay and the Armstrong Creek region, which is the largest-growing region in Victoria for new homes,” says Peter Smith, Jan Juc SLSC’s VP and Chair of the building sub-committee.
Beach visitations have increased at Jan Juc and the club’s 1,000 members is forecast to grow to more than 1,500 by 2025.
“The effort and commitment of the clubs to renew their facilities is admirable as it’s disruptive to programs and carnival capacity in the short-term,” says Andrew. “But, the anticipated benefits to the clubs, lifesaving and the broader community is clearly evident, and the future clubhouses will become huge community assets.”
Due to the volume of clubhouses around the state, the lessons learnt in getting the process underway and the key challenges that other clubs should consider will mean the more clubhouses that get redeveloped, the easier it will become.
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