Major surf club redevelopment rides government wave

May 15, 2024
Jane Louise

South Australia’s West Beach Surf Life Saving Club is celebrating the completion of the largest redevelopment of its kind that a surf club in the state has seen to date.

The 68-year-old club underwent an $8.5 million redevelopment thanks to a project collaboratively funded by the State and Federal governments, the City of Charles Sturt, Surf Life Saving South Australia, and the club itself.

The revamp was done with the aim of enhancing safety for beachgoers, increasing community engagement, and supporting the efforts of the club and its volunteers.

The previous infrastructure was replaced with a new two-storey building housing state-of-the-art amenities, with upgrades such as improved ambulance access, a new beach access ramp and a relocated first aid room.

Works also incorporated a new patrol room, increased storage, change rooms and gym.

Community-focused enhancements included a conference room, restaurant and bar along with a balcony to extend the social space.

West Beach SLSC boasts over 700 members, making it one of South Australia’s largest clubs. Over 200 of these members actively volunteer on the beaches.

The club, which patrols two kilometres from North Glenelg to the Torrens River Mouth, has proudly served the community since 1956 as well as making a name for itself in various competitions over the decades.

West Beach SLSC currently hosts community events including the annual Blue and Pink Swim/Walk/Run, which raises funds for cancer research, and the VACSWIM school holiday program.

Thrilled to deliver on the government’s promise to the community, Federal Member for Hindmarsh Mark Butler said: “I want to see West Beach thrive and this club is at the heart of the local community”.

State Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing Katrine Hildyard congratulated the club.

“It is excellent to see West Beach Surf Life Saving Club reinvigorated and rejuvenated following an incredible partnership between Federal, State and Local Governments and the broader surf lifesaving community.”

Ms Kildyard reminisced about her own experience as a nipper and junior lifesaver at the club, adding “The West Beach SLSC plays a critical and exemplary role in the community – empowering locals and visitors to safely enjoy this beautiful beach, bringing community together and keeping them active, developing young people and growing their understanding of the importance of volunteering and serving others”.

State Minister for Emergency Services Dan Cregan was happy to see lifesaving volunteers receive the fit-for-purpose facilities they deserve.

“The State Government is proud to be part of a historic redevelopment that supports members who dedicate their time and energy to serving their community.”

City of Charles Sturt Mayor Angela Evans was also proud to support the development.

“The West Beach Surf Life Saving Club has always been a place where our community can come together. We are fortunate to have such passionate volunteers in our community who will now have improved facilities available to coordinate programs and supervise beachgoers of all ages.”

Thanking all funding partners, Surf Life Saving SA President Sarah Cutbush observed, “The membership retention and increase in visitors since the redevelopment shows the important role that surf clubs can play in their communities – as well as saving lives and promoting water safety, surf clubs provide safe, accessible, and family- friendly hubs for locals and tourists alike.

“There is much to be proud of in what we have collectively achieved, and it has been a critical step in our mission to build healthy, sustainable communities while working towards zero preventable deaths in South Australian waters.”

West Beach SLSC President, Graeme Cunningham pointed out that “Investing in future surf lifesavers and leaders is particularly important for our crew, with our efforts to provide a highly inclusive program being recognised in our selection as a 2023-24 SLSSA Junior Club of the Year finalist.”

“This state-of-the-art facility will provide a crucial foundation for us to continue developing youth for many generations to come,” he added.


Tags

government funding, West Beach Surf Lifesaving Club


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