Ballina Lighthouse Beach will soon have a new surf club. From left to right: Kris Beavis, president of Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC; Janelle Saffin, MP; Phillip Silver, Mayor of Ballina; Wilson Cregan, president of Far North SLSC; Ron Sheperd, vice-president and life member of Ballina SLSC.
Ballina Lighthouse Beach will soon have a new surf club. From left to right: Kris Beavis, president of Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC; Janelle Saffin, MP; Phillip Silver, Mayor of Ballina; Wilson Cregan, president of Far North SLSC; Ron Sheperd, vice-president and life member of Ballina SLSC. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

New surf club for Lighthouse Beach

BALLINA Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club president Kris Beavis can relax this Christmas; he's already received the present he wanted.

It was confirmed yesterday the Federal Government has signed off on $2.3 million in funding for the club's new facility.

"Today's another milestone in terms of getting the building," Mr Beavis said.

The funding guarantee came the same week a new development application was lodged with Ballina Council for the proposed club.

The new development application has made adjustments from the previous application for the site, including moving the surf patrol section to the south-east corner of the building.

"We listened to our members, we've listened to the community and they'll have a surf life saving facility that's in sight of the beach," Mr Beavis said.

"It gives us a full view of the beach all the way up to the wall.

"That's a really important thing for us in terms of out of hours surveillance."

Lighthouse Parade will also be re-routed around the back of the new site to improve pedestrian access to what is hoped will be a facility used by residents and visitors, not just surf club members.

Much of the $5.8 million project cost is associated with the Lighthouse Parade road realignment.

Council staff was on hand at the club's current premises at Lighthouse Beach yesterday, armed with plans for the new surf club.

The two-storey building will include a cafe and function rooms to ensure the building's financial sustainability.

But it also has an eye on fostering and retaining the next generation of life guards.

"We've got a generation of members that have never had a hot shower after a patrol.

"To be able to say to someone 'You did a great job today, go and pack the gear up and grab a shower', that's a great thing for us," Mr Beavis said.

"If we can keep those kids engaged and they want to come through as patrolling members, that's going to provide a safer surf environment for the community."

With the DA submitted this week, it is expected construction could start by the middle of next year, after council has placed the application on public exhibition, and the plans go to tender.

Building is expected to take 12 months.



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