A development application has been lodged for a new clubhouse for the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Lifesaving Club.
The surf club has been operating out of the Shelly Beach Club facility for several years after its original clubhouse at Lighthouse Beach was demolished in 2005 when refurbishment solutions were exhausted.
Recent storm damage to Shelly Beach, which left Lighthouse Beach relatively unscathed, recognises the appropriateness of Lighthouse Beach as a primary patrolling location, the surf club president, Kris Beavis, said.
The proposed project includes an observation tower/patrol room, first aid room and public toilet. It is proposed that this building be located on the site of the previous clubhouse.
A second building will be set back from the beach and will incorporate the club facilities as well as office space for Surf Lifesaving Far North Coast’s branch office and the professional lifeguard service which patrols Ballina’s beaches during summer and school holiday periods.
The plan calls for a closure of a section of Compton Drive between Cedar Crescent and McKinnon Street, and the diversion of Compton Drive behind the new clubhouse and carpark, linking up with the existing road at the bottom of Lighthouse Hill.
The section of Lighthouse Parade from the bottom of the hill to where Compton Drive and Lighthouse Parade now meet will also be closed, but access to Lighthouse Parade and Cedar Crescent will remain through the extension of Cedar Crescent to meet with the Compton Drive diversion (the shaded areas on the diagram represent the road closures).
There will be no change to the cycleway access.
The new facility is designed to not only service the Ballina-Lismore Surf Club, but to also provide accommodation for Surfcom which operates radio communication services for surf lifesaving clubs from Yamba to the Tweed. It will also include community meeting rooms and a cafe.
Mr Beavis said the proposed new clubhouse and facilities have been designed to have minimal impact on the sensitive coastal environment whilst still meeting the needs of the surf club and the community.
He said this was an exciting time for the organisation which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.
“We have a proud history of service to this community and we are looking forward to seeing the development of the new premises,” Mr Beavis said.
“Once the development application is approved by the Ballina Council we will then be pursuing funding to complete the project.
“The surf club plays a vital role in ensuring the beaches in the shire are safe and we will be seeking to access similar Federal and State funding that has been provided for other communities.
“We will be partnering the Council in pursuing these funding opportunities.
“The new surf club would not simply benefit the members of the surf club; it would be an asset that will serve the community for many years to come.
“Last season our members conducted 49 rescues and performed 789 preventative actions, in addition to providing training for more than 200 surf awards for our senior and junior members.
“An investment in infrastructure for our surf lifesaving club will be an investment in community safety.”