Salt Surf Club was incorporated in 2004, a small lifesaving facility (shared with lifeguards for 10 years) was built in 2005 (Figure 1), and patrols began in the 2005/06 season. It’s a phenomenal achievement on the part of many volunteer members to start a club, maintain lifesaving patrols with no loss of life for 11 seasons, train lifesavers and nippers, and to then raise enough funds to develop a proper clubhouse.


Fig 1: The original lifesaving facility built in 2005.

Ideally a complete and reasonable size clubhouse would have been built from the outset. It wasn’t and in the early years the focus had to be on maintaining effective patrols through increasing membership and training. Not until 2009 were some initial professional designs drawn up and many meetings were held to get the design right. Early designs featured a basement carpark but this was quickly discarded due to cost and the presence of a large stormwater pipe which would have to be relocated. That stormwater pipe resulted in increased costs and delays as explained further below.

A big push was made in 2013 to submit a Development Application (DA) to the local Tweed Shire Council (TSC) to take advantage of the Surf Club Facility Development Grant Program (provided by the NSW Office of Sport & Recreation and managed by SLSNSW). Without a substantial grant we wouldn’t be building a clubhouse any time soon and an approved DA was a condition of the grant application. Further, there was no guarantee the grant program would continue so we wanted to make an application for the 2013 round. The facilities grant program finished in 2014 so in hindsight it was a good move. While we pushed ahead quickly to take advantage of the grant we had no idea at the time that if we had waited another year to submit the DA then there would have been no development at all except to go up one more level on the existing building. In 2014 the 2100 erosion lines were redrawn such that we couldn't have built anything seaward of the original building.

We received approval for DA13/0119 (partial demolition, alterations and additions of Salt surf lifesaving club) on the 23rd September 2013. On the 6th January 2014 we were awarded $305,000 from the 2013-14 Surf Club Facility Development Grant Program to extend the clubhouse. All systems go and very exciting. Then reality hit!

The DA was for the complete two story development, however with grant funds, club funds, and TSC Section 94 funds (i.e., developer contributions) of initially $100,000 and later increased to $200,000 sufficient monies were available for construction of only the ground floor. Not only that, our design placed the eastern edge of the building over a large stormwater pipe and TSC does not normally allow construction over stormwater infrastructure. Addressing the stormwater pipe issue was one of the conditions of the DA.

Together with numerous consultants and many meetings later we drafted a proposal to build a suspended concrete slab over the stormwater pipe. This proposal received conditional approval. Subsequently in a Section 96 application to TSC to vary the DA we addressed those conditions and also requested that we stage the development and initially construct just the ground floor. The ground floor construction is referred to as Stage 2A, while Stage 2B is for the second level with deck to completion.

Of course all this extra work took time and we were under a deadline from the grant. One of the conditions of the grant was that construction would commence by the 1st September 2014. There was no way we were going to meet that deadline as the S96 application was only submitted about a week prior. In the end we had to ask SLSNSW for two extensions to the start date with the second extension having to go to the NSW Office of Sport & Recreation for approval.

In the meantime the builder selection process was underway. It was a selective process that started with five companies. The process was extensive and regular input from TSC was sought. Note that TSC are the ultimate owners of the building and Salt SLSC will have a lease agreement with TSC for occupancy. One of the requirements from TSC was that we contract a Quantity Surveyor to review the construction documents and draw up a Bill of Quantities. While this took extra time it was a useful exercise as it allowed us to view a breakdown of costs for the build and compare with quotes from the builders. In the end, Best of Builders was chosen as the building contractor. We also engaged several contractors many of whom were involved in the development of the original facility which was beneficial. 

The S96 application was submitted on the 10th July 2015 and on the 12th October 2015 we were enormously relieved to receive approval DA13/0119.01. We then applied for a Construction Certificate and this was issued by TSC on the 11th November 2015. Construction began on the 16th November 2015. This was also timely as our second and final extension to the facilities grant required that construction begin by 1st December 2015. We made it just in time, whew!