Joint – Kiama Council / Gerringong SLSC

Kiama Council

Rendered mock up images of the new Surf Life Saving Club at Gerringong

Kiama Council is investing $370,000 to support the construction of the new Gerringong Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), with further funds requested by Gerringong SLSC to be referred to Council’s 2024/25 budget process for consideration if no other funding alternatives can be found.

The investment is being provided to help with the extra costs incurred by the Gerringong SLSC following the discovery of asbestos contaminated material at the building site.

Director Infrastructure & Liveability Michael Malone said Council’s contribution would ensure the Club could complete the project.

“Surf clubs play an important part in Australian coastal communities, providing beach patrols, water safety training through Nippers programs, sporting and recreation activities and are a social focal point for many,” Mr Malone said.

“Providing this funding, while a significant cost to Council, ensures our local network of surf clubs remains intact, without impacting on our ability to meet our existing capital program commitments.”

Gerringong SLSC President Gary George said: “The Surf Club is pleased with this result and we commend Council for stepping in to help assist with this unforeseen expense.”

“Gerringong SLSC has overseen the design, development and approval process for this project over the past two years and were successful in securing $5.9 million in Federal and State grant funds to ensure its successful implementation. The discovery of contaminated materials on site has created a challenge; however, the site is now fully remediated. Gerringong SLSC is appreciative of Council’s contribution towards these costs which will enable construction works to continue as originally planned.”

“The Club looks forward to delivering a new state of the art facility for the benefit of the local community,” Mr George said.

Kiama Council Chief Executive Officer Jane Stroud said, while Council commends the Club on its proactive work: “There are several important lessons to be learnt in this project in terms of community driven replacement of Council owned facilities versus planned strategic replacement and renewal of Council assets.”

“Council has requested direct involvement in the project control group (PCG), to partner with Gerringong SLSC and support their investment in the project. We are looking forward to seeing a more robust partnership with Gerringong SLSC going forward in the development of this important community asset that will ultimately sit on Council’s balance sheet and become a Council asset.”

Ms Stroud said the case would also be instructive for other sports clubs in the area who are looking to undertake similar work. “We hope this half-million-dollar shortfall serves as an important lesson and a model for better collaboration in future community projects. Council is keen for genuine partnerships with community groups to deliver the best outcomes for all.”

Mr Malone said: “Council’s support not only provides our community a brand-new facility, but also provides our beach-going residents and visitors with a volunteer beach patrol base with the required emergency equipment storage.”

Mr Malone said there was also an estimated $180,000 worth of public facilities included in the new Gerringong SLSC, including:

  • Accessible public toilets
  • Upgraded public parking
  • Outdoor showers
  • Bike rack

The $370,000 will be introduced to the Capital Budget – Building & Facilities from the Development Contributions Reserve and Unexpended Grants Reserve.

Any further amount required, that cannot be funded from other sources, will be considered as an inclusion for future Council budgets.

SITE SAFETY

Mr Malone also sought to clarify some misinformation in the community that Council was previously aware of the asbestos contamination at the site.

Mr Malone said the Gerringong SLSC site had not previously been listed as “contaminated lands” nor “possible contaminated lands” on Council’s contaminated lands register or GIS system. Further, it has not appeared on the planning certificate for the property and if Council had any record of contamination on the site it would have been listed as a notation on this certificate.

Council and Gerringong SLSC want to reassure the community that the site is currently safe and the affected area has been sealed with a capping layer. As soon as the asbestos was discovered, the Club’s contractors worked to follow the SafeWork NSW Asbestos Code of Practice, along with the applicable regulations, guidelines and safety procedures.

/Public Release. View in full here.