Going it alone
By KEN SAPWELL
CABARITA Surf Life Saving Club members are cele-brating a breakthrough in their long-running battle to shift headquarters from a converted toilet block to a new two-storey building.
Ecstatic members were officially notified yesterday that Tweed ShireCouncil had approved an amended development application for the new clubhouse to be sited a few metres west of the old
toilet block. But they will be forced operate out of the cramped block for another 10 months until the new $750,000 building is finished, possibly by the start of this year's peak Christmas period.
"We are absolutely stoked with the outcome," said fundraiser co-ordinator Peter O'Donnell, who helped raise $50,000 in community donations towards the project.
"It will provide a new focal point for the whole community - it will lift everyone's spirits in a big way."
The club was forced to move into the old amenities block when its former premises were torn down in November 2003 after being diagnosed with concrete cancer.
Mr O'Donnell said it had been a tough call for the club's 247 members trying to operate out of the old block where their equipment was also stored.
"It's been pretty hard, but what really irked us was the theft of two outboard motors from our inshore rescue boats which were worth about $5000 each," he said.
But a local pharmacist and his neighbour contributed $5000 towards one new motor and Manly surf club donated a second-hand motor to get both boats back in the water.
?Club president Pat Raftery said the new building would be the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes.
"As it takes shape people will see a truly remarkable transformation, enshrining a sense of identity and pride within the community," Mr Raftery said yesterday.
"We urge the local community to get behind our building program - we welcome any form of assistance that people would like to provide.
"Our vision for this club over the next five to 10 years is to become a leader in surf lifesaving in NSW, and this is the direction in which we are now headed."
The club was forced to submit an amended development application to reduce the size of the original concept to meet budget restraints.
It had earlier rejected an offer by developer Resort Corp to provide a new clubhouse in a proposed redevelopment of the site, including public land which the company was interested in buying.
Mr O'Donnell said the members knocked the offer back because it wanted a stand-alone building which would not be threatened by complaints from other users of any major redevelopment.
Tweed Council has donated $500,000 towards the new building while another $200,000 was given by the Department of Sport and Recreation.