After more than a decade of lobbying and fundraising, the Brunswick Heads Surf Lifesaving Club has had its $3.8m redevelopment approved by Byron Council.
Around a dozen senior surf club members burst into cheers and applause on Thursday after councillors voted unanimously to approve construction of the new building, which is more than three times the size of the existing structure.
With the state government already having promised and budgeted for the cost of the redevelopment, it is understood the first stage of construction could begin by the end of the year.
‘We often get seen as a council of ‘no’ – it’s nice to kick this meeting off by being a council of ‘yes’,’ Labor Councillor Paul Spooner said.
The project is set to completely transform the beachside site.
It will evolve to a multipurpose facility that includes a function area complete with commercial kitchen, bar areas, training rooms, storage, canteen, cool rooms, and deck areas on the upper floor.
The surf club says it is hoping to cash in on the wedding market, potentially bringing hundreds of extra visitors to the town every week in the warmer months.
In the public access section of Thursday’s meeting, Michelle Grant from the Foreshore Protection Group said the project was an overdevelopment that was at risk from coastal erosion.
‘I’d like to know what happened to planned retreat,’ Ms Grant said.
‘Have we forgotten that the previous surf club was washed away?
‘We’re not talking about a new colourbond shed for the jet skis and the rubber ducky. This has got a commercial kitchen, a function room, bars. It’s much more than a cosy club for members.’
But Ray Linabury, chairman of the club’s rebuilding committee, said the new premises were badly needed and would make a huge difference to the club and the community.
‘Our hope is that this will attract new members and that means more people who are potentially able to patrol the beach,’ Mr Linabury said.
‘And there’s another big advantage: this will not cost Council or the community anything because the state government has agreed to pay for it.’