Damage to new clubhouse another setback for opening
Just how the power transformer for the new Woolgoolga surf club was damaged is a mystery that's left Les Pepper scratching his head.
He's the president of the Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club and has been flat chat for well over a year trying to get the new $4m clubhouse complete.
Construction was ahead of schedule until COVID-19 intervened and there are hopes for a grand opening to coincide with the September school holidays and start of the new surf season.
But just prior to the new $75,000 transformer being switched on it was damaged. Factoring in connection costs the bill will be more like $100,000 but now the club is facing an excess insurance bill to cover the damage.
"The thing weighs five-and-a-half tonnes but somehow someone has knocked it about 300 mills off its foundation," Mr Pepper said.
"It's the size of a small car. Nobody knows who did it. If it was a car you'd expect glass or plastic to have been left behind but there was nothing like that."
The location of the new club has been controversial on the corner of Ocean and Carington Streets where the Marine Rescue Building once stood.
The old surf club, just to the north, was too close to the tidal zone so not a safe option for a new build.
"There's the odd person who doesn't want it there but we've got pretty good support for the club to be there.
"Nobody has a clue who did it, it's just one of those things unfortunately. We've had to pay the excess and it's more money that we didn't plan on, but that's just the way it is."
The damage took place about three months ago and Les is still waiting on the repairs to be completed.
"We're supposed to get it back this month."
Town supply was deemed insufficient to power the new club house.
"We could run the lights and things like that but not the lift," Les said.
It's anticipated the new clubhouse will improve response times at the beach which has seen a drowning and a number of close calls.
Funds have come from all three tiers of government.
One of the most striking features, other than the view from the main function/bar area upstairs, is the old wooden surf boat suspended above the kitchen.
Over 30-years-old it had been stored in the roof of the old clubhouse and the intention was to use it as the bar, but that didn't work out.
Downstairs is the patrol room and first-aid room and the huge garage/storage area. The kiosk is also downstairs and this will be rented out.
Coffs-Clarence Police have been contacted for comment.