Saturday, October 13 was a double celebration for members of the Coomba Park community.
Before a crowd of more then 80 people, Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead and MidCoast Council mayor, Cr David West officially opened the new Coomba Park boatshed.
The $400,000 building represents stage one of a major development for the community, constructed after more than 25 years of fundraising, government grants and thousands of hours of voluntary labour.
Following the formalities Mr Bromhead surprised and delighted the crowd by announcing a $1.24 million NSW Regional Sports Infrastructure Fund grant which would enable the Coomba Aquatic Club, in partnership with Sailability NSW, to complete stages two and three of the project to build the North Coast Inclusive Aquatic Facility.
Mr Bromhead and Cr West spoke warmly about the dedication, passion and foresight of the local community in creating the facility on Wallis Lake.
Stages two and three of the project will see the construction of a multi-use clubhouse, with a kitchen and toilets, car parking, water and power.
Coomba Aquatic Club president, Peter Felton said the club was gratified by support for the project which would enable sailing for disabled and able-bodied people on Wallis Lake and greater participation in weekly and occasional social events.
“The new facility will be used by local and regionally based groups, including adults and junior sailors and those learning to sail; dragon boat club members who have no facilities or boat storage; disabled sailors and carers; and community groups,” Mr Felton said.
‘The grant provides an opportunity to create a bespoke building and grounds which are designed to have ‘all access’ as the primary need with its immaculate lakeside setting and close parking and easy access.
“Other important outcomes from this project include a joint facility for the Coomba dragon boat club and their regional regattas and the aquatic club’s junior sailing training.
“Most importantly and as much as possible, we will use local builders and trades on the next stages which will inject money into the local economy.”
Sailability NSW president, John Price said the facility would become the regional hub of sailing and training for disabled people and coaches on the North Coast.
“Last year Coomba Aquatic Club was asked to host Sailability’s NSW titles which had more than 250 in attendance,” Mr Price said.
“We were so pleased with the outcomes we asked them to host the 2019 National titles.
“The new facility will Improve access to sailing for disabled people in Northern NSW and we estimate an increase in the number of disabled people who try sailing by at least 30 per cent.
“Completion of the project will allow regional, state and national disability sailing regattas in ideal conditions that ensure the safety, protection and access of competitors, carers and spectators.
“Sailability NSW is very grateful for the support provided to the project by Australian Sailing who view this facility as a significant addition to sailing infrastructure in NSW.”
Sailability NSW has six clubs in northern NSW, including Sailability Great Lakes, and has more than 1783 members and 680 volunteer members in NSW.
In the Mid Coast Council area, around 7.6 per cent or 6531 of people live with a disability, which is
far more than the average of 5.8 oer cebt in all NSW regional areas.