IN heavy rain, “lovely pools” of water form inside the Forster Surf Life Saving Clubhouse, club president John Quinn says.
As a result, the parquet floor is lifting in places on the top floor. But the surf club members would like to see more than the flooring replaced and the roof repaired – they have in mind a redevelopment of the site to make the entire building more user-friendly.
The internal space is far too small for the 300-odd nippers, patrolling, associate and parent members who make up the Forster Surf Life Saving Club.
Functions are generally held outdoors and, when it rains, there is simply not enough room to fit everyone comfortably inside, Mr Quinn says.
Mr Quinn said training days and presentations were currently held inside the surf club, but the space was restrictive.
“You get 40 or 50 people up there and it’s standing room only,” he said.
The proposed extension and refit would extend the life of the building, Mr Quinn said, and improve it as an asset for local use.
The land is part of the Forster Tuncurry Crown Harbour Project (FTCHP), a long term strategic plan initiated by the Department of Lands for the community land in and around the harbour. In a report to council’s February 26 meeting, manager parks and recreation David Bortfeld said allowing the surf club extension project to proceed to the next development concept stage could “resurrect interest” in the FTCHP, which could slow down the development process.
Mr Bortfeld said improvements in the reserves under the FTCHP has been “met with resistance” from the Department of Lands, due to the fact that the FTCHP’s future direction has not been entirely settled. However, he recommended that “we push forward with the proposed extension to the surf club recognising it is only in its development concept stages”.
The proposed changes to the surf club are being designed by Webber Architects, who have worked on other coastal projects, including a new surf club in Newcastle. It will retain the existing footprint of the surf club, but improve its usable area.
Mr Quinn estimated, if given approval to go-ahead, the project would cost $600,000 – a sum he hoped could be covered by a combination fundraising and grants. Depending on the timeframe of the funding becoming available, Mr Quinn said the project could be completed all at once or carried out in three stages.