IN REPLY to "Innes questions flow of funds to Coffs surf club" (CCA 11/5).
The extension and renovations to the Coffs Harbour Surf Club over recent years have been funded from state and federal government grants, surf club funds, sponsorships and community donations.
During the building approvals phase, Coffs Harbour City Council, realising that the old public amenities block was well past its use-by date, decided to replace it and incorporate this into the club's plans.
The original plans for the extensions were drawn up and fundraising efforts began in 1997. The project was officially opened 15 years later on May 2, 2012. During this time club members raised over $250,000 towards the cost of the project.
Several years ago council drew up plans to beautify the foreshore area at Park Beach, which is our community's main swimming beach. These plans were for the present work which includes disabled access, a viewing platform, public outdoor showers, seating and landscaping, etc. Unfortunately council could not find funds in a very tight budget to carry out the work at that time. In 2012 the surf club successfully applied for a grant of $165,000 from the NSW Government to assist with funding of this work and council has been able to fund the balance.
The surf club supplies beach patrols on weekends and public holidays from September to April, saving council the cost of professional lifeguards (last summer in excess of 5000 volunteer hours). We obtained a significant proportion of the funding for access and beautification works which are not on the club's lease. The only other improvements that ratepayers have funded in this area over many years was to replace a dilapidated public amenities block.
While the surf club will undoubtedly receive a flow-on benefit from this work, local residents and visitors to our city visiting Park Beach will also benefit from the much improved access and amenities.
Considering all the facts I don't think any fair-minded person could conclude that the club receives special treatment from council or is in any way a burden on ratepayers.
President Coffs Harbour SLSC