An application has been lodged to demolish the former Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club building.
An application has been lodged to demolish the former Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club building.

Time running out: surf club’s fate will soon be decided

Public submissions are closing tomorrow on the proposal to demolish the old surf club building in Woolgoolga.

A new $4m clubhouse was built just to the south of the old one, on the site of the old Marine Rescue Building. it was officially opened in September.

The company that was used to demolish the old Marine Rescue Building was on standby to demolish the old clubhouse but as club president Les Pepper explained, this had to be delayed.

The same company that demolished the old Marine Rescue building were on standby to remove the old clubhouse.
The same company that demolished the old Marine Rescue building were on standby to remove the old clubhouse.

Work is estimated to cost $ 65,000 but Mr Pepper fears these costs could blowout due to the delays.

"We had them booked in (for early November) as Council said they wanted it gone before Christmas, and the land turned into parkland before the holidays," Mr Pepper said.

Despite the dilapidated condition of the old clubhouse, some locals have called for it to be preserved or even turned into a restaurant or bar.

"You would need a lift in there and I know from doing all that work with the new clubhouse that would cost at least $80,000.

"Then all the electricals are shot and it's full of asbestos. It would need to be repiered - it's so rundown. And to top it all off, it's full of white ants.

"People don't know what they are complaining about."

Coffs Harbour City Council confirmed that due to the level of public interest in the demolition of the old building, they would be following the requirements of their Community Participation and Engagement Plan and advertising the Development Application.

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Mr Pepper has also been dealing with criticism surrounding the cost of venue hire at the new clubhouse.

A great deal of flack came following a post on a local Facebook page.

The post was from local real estate agent Nicole Cardow who objected to the prices quoted to hire the venue for a wedding: $1,000 for a Monday - Thursday; $3,000 for a Friday; and $4,000 for Saturday-Sunday.

Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club president Les Pepper and Jim Philippidis from Solitary Designer Homes who donated his time as project manager for the $4m build of the new clubhouse. Photo: Janine Watson
Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club president Les Pepper and Jim Philippidis from Solitary Designer Homes who donated his time as project manager for the $4m build of the new clubhouse. Photo: Janine Watson

The comments became quite heated with some labelling the new clubhouse 'Pepper's Palace'.

"I don't respond to Facebook comments but during the build I probably went down there three times a day, five days a week for twelve months. I certainly wasn't doing it to pat myself on the back."

He has been the president of the club, which has about 150 senior members and 250 juniors, for 23 years.

Mr Pepper said an independent authority provided estimates for what a similar venue would be to hire, and that he stands by the charges.

"The clubhouse was built to be a surf club and a rescue facility with a function room - not a public restaurant or public bar.

"It was built with State and Federal funds just like a school or a fire brigade building. People can't just go and use those facilities so the same principle applies."

He says there are five confirmed bookings for weddings at the club next year at the quoted prices.

"We have also offered the function room free to all schools for their formals next year."

To read for about the demolition DA go to Council's DA tracker and search for the reference number: 0405/21DA