Cabarita Beach Surf Life Saving Club’s Patrick Raftery called on councillors to reconsider their position.
Cabarita Beach Surf Life Saving Club’s Patrick Raftery called on councillors to reconsider their position. Crystal Spencer

$100,000 fee decks surf club

MORE than just the surf is boiling at Cabarita Beach.

Volunteer lifesavers are incensed Tweed Shire Council won’t back down from a demand the club pay $100,000 in developer fees for plans to erect a deck overlooking the surf they patrol.

At a mediation meeting held in the offices of Tweed National Party MP Geoff Provest, Tweed Mayor Warren Polglase and senior council staff refused to budge, insisting the club had been given enough council support over the years.

Yesterday, exasperated club spokesman Patrick Raftery called on other councillors to reconsider their position, saying the deck would help volunteer surf lifesavers carry out their role of keeping a watchful eye on the beach.

Mayor Polglase hit back, saying the $100,000 in developer contributions was needed for the creation of extra car parking “required for the clubroom’s expanded floor space”.

Cr Polgase said the deck was “for entertainment purposes and not related to the core role of providing surf life saving services”.

It is an argument the members reject.

“Cabarita Beach Surf Club provides voluntary lifesaving services for visitors and residents of the Tweed and the deck extension will only assist members in providing a watchful eye on the beach,” said Mr Raftery.

“Council officers and some councillors appear to believe that the surf club is a commercial operation.

“To do so, the surf club needs to raise funds close to $100,000 each year to provide this service.

“A deck extension, as well as providing wide ranging views of the beach for safety purposes, will enhance the surf club’s ability to raise these funds each year.”

Mr Raftery said it appeared “council officers and some councillors” believed the surf club was a commercial operation.

He said the club was asking councillors to consider revising their previous decision on the levy when an amended development application goes before a council meeting in two weeks.

A council spokeswoman said the application was for “entertainment facilities” and hence the club was required to pay “normal developer contributions”.

Cr Polglase said the club had already received $900,000 in council assistance in recent years and could not expect “further council concessions to enhance its entertainment facilities”.

“In 2004 council gave a $650,000 grant for the construction of the Cabarita Surf Life Saving Club and waived approximately $250,000 in development contributions at that time,” he said.

“An expansion of the deck is essentially to create an entertainment area, in direct competition to an existing hotel across the road and other commercial businesses. Those developments have been required to pay developer contributions.”

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