Neville Cleary and Les Pepper look on as the last of the old marine rescue building is taken down to make way for the new surf club.
Neville Cleary and Les Pepper look on as the last of the old marine rescue building is taken down to make way for the new surf club. TREVOR VEALE

Woopi's new surf club will cut response times

THE old Marine Rescue building has been demolished and it's all systems go for Woolgoolga's new Surf Life Saving Club.

Compared to the old surf club, currently located just down the beach, the new $3.9 million club house will seem positively palatial.

But as surf club president Les Pepper points out a new club is overdue and it will mean much swifter response times at the beach which has seen a drowning and a number of close calls in recent months.

"All the rescue equipment will be in one spot. At the moment the jet ski is locked in a container behind the club but with all the equipment in one spot the response time will be much quicker,” he said.

The new club house will include an open area for functions and plans to use an old surf boat cut in two for the bar. There will also be a kiosk.

"It's a kiosk, not a cafe,” Les said.

The club house will continue to host Christmas carols on a new and improved deck.

Life member Neville Cleary explains that unlike many of the new surf clubs up and down the coast, members were keen to ensure the new facility would not compete with local businesses who have been so supportive.

"We don't want to turn around and put in a restaurant after they've been helping us for the last 30 years with donations and so on. The bottle shop has also been very good to us.” Mr Cleary said.

He is also looking forward to being able to improve response times at the beach and spoke of the impact drownings have on members.

"Along the coast we still have four missing people - one at Ballina, one here and those two backpackers at Port Macquarie. It really affects you,” he said.

The new club house will include multiple storage facilities for surf rescue equipment, a state-of-the-art patrol room, First Aid room, a public café, function and training rooms, kitchen, gymnasium and a function room.

The Federal Government contributed $1 million to the project and the State Government $2.7 million.



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