President of the Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club Les Pepper said he had a company booked in to demolish the old clubhouse this week but now they will have to hold off.
President of the Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club Les Pepper said he had a company booked in to demolish the old clubhouse this week but now they will have to hold off.

Frustrated club president calls off wreckers

FRUSTRATED Woolgoolga SLSC president Les Pepper, has had to call off the company that was on standby to demolish the old clubhouse this month.

"We had them booked in for either this week or next week as Council said they wanted it gone before Christmas, and the land turned into parkland before the holidays," Mr Pepper said.

"It was All Areas Demolition; we used them to demolish the old Marine Rescue building (on the site where the new club now stands)."

Les Pepper (right) pictured in March last year as work started on the demolition of the old marine rescue building to make way for the new Woolgoolga Surf Club.
Les Pepper (right) pictured in March last year as work started on the demolition of the old marine rescue building to make way for the new Woolgoolga Surf Club.

Despite the dilapidated condition of the old clubhouse (just to the north of the new clubhouse), some locals have called for it to be preserved or even turned into a restaurant or bar.

"You would need a lift in there and I know from doing all that work with the new clubhouse that would cost at least $80,000.

"Then all the electricals are shot and it's full of asbestos. It would need to be repiered - it's so rundown. And to top it all off, it's full of white ants.

"People don't know what they are complaining about."

Coffs Harbour City Council has confirmed that due to the level of public interest in the demolition of the old building, they will be following the requirements of their Community Participation and Engagement Plan and advertising the Development Application.

It will be advertised from November 13 to 27 and can be viewed on Council's DA Tracker under the Advertised DAs tab.

Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club president Les Pepper.
Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club president Les Pepper.

In the background Mr Pepper has been dealing with the fallout from a post on a local Facebook page complaining about the cost of venue hire at the new clubhouse.

It was officially opened in September.

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The post was from local real estate agent Nicole Cardow who objected to the prices quoted to hire the venue for a wedding: $1,000 for a Monday - Thursday; $3,000 for a Friday; and $4,000 for Saturday-Sunday.

The comments became quite heated with some labelling the new clubhouse 'Pepper's Palace'.

"I don't respond to Facebook comments but during the build I probably went down there three times a day, five days a week for twelve months. I certainly wasn't doing it to pat myself on the back."

He has been the president of the club, which has about 150 senior members and 250 juniors, for 23 years.

Mr Pepper said an independent authority provided estimates for what a similar venue would be to hire, and that he stands by the charges.

"The clubhouse was built to be a surf club and a rescue facility with a function room - not a public restaurant or public bar.

"It was built with State and Federal funds just like a school or a fire brigade building. People can't just go and use those facilities so the same principle applies."

He says there are five confirmed bookings for weddings at the club next year at the quoted prices.

"We have also offered the function room free to all schools for their formals next year."

The kiosk at the new clubhouse will open this Friday with Jonathan Oates from the Hub Cafe taking on the lease.



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