Tweed Shire Council ‘has been on the receiving end of criticism from Cabarita Surf Life Saving Club in the lead-up to the May Council meeting which will consider a Section 96 application from the club to extend their deck area’, the council said in a press release.

“In a press release issued by surf club representative Patrick Raftery the Cabarita Surf Life Saving Club asks Councillors to reconsider their 7-0 decision to uphold the developer contribution levies of about $100,000,” the council said.

“Council strongly supports the core lifesaving activities of the Cabarita Surf Life Saving Club and has already given the club substantial funds for these activities. However the current application is for ‘Entertainment Facilities’ and the club is required to pay the normal developer contributions that all other developers have to pay for this type of development.”

Mayor of Tweed Warren Polglase said Cabarita Surf Club has received $900,000 in Tweed Shire Council assistance in recent years for the primary purpose of bolstering lifesaving services, but could not expect further council concessions to enhance its entertainment facilities.

“In 2004 council gave a $650,000 grant for the construction of the Cabarita Surf Life Saving Club and waived approximately $250,000 in development contributions at that time, because the facility played a vital role in keeping the shire’s beaches safe,” Cr Polglase said.

““We value the contributions of volunteers and have acknowledged that by providing substantial funding as well to other surf clubs in the shire.”

In May 2009, the Cabarita Surf Life Saving Club was granted council approval to construct the extended deck. However, the council resolved 7-0 not to waive about $100,000 in developer contributions, including the creation of off-site car parking spaces required for the clubroom’s expanded floor space as this space is for entertainment purposes and not related to the core role of providing surf lifesaving services.

“Council cannot offer further concessions for non-core entertainment functions of the clubs. An expansion of the deck is essentially to create an entertainment area, in direct competition to an existing hotel immediately across the road and other commercial businesses. I can assure you those developments have been required to pay developer contributions to benefit the precinct,” Cr Polglase said.

“Waiving the car parking contributions would also leave a substantial hole in public funds for the provision of other necessary services that are the result of Section 94 contributions.

“Council’s current priority in upgrading local surf life saving services was an overdue expansion of clubrooms at
Fingal Head.

“Council has given a commitment to assist a major upgrade of the Fingal Rovers Surf Life Saving Club, which is currently being explored by club members.”

Cabarita Surf Lifesaving Club’s response to this article.