Next step to activate surf clubhouses

Richard Payne, President of the Gerringong Surf Life Saving Club, welcomes Council’s decision to begin the process of allowing surf clubs to run additional activities in their zonings in the Local Environment Plan (LEP).

“We are looking at a long term strategy for the redevelopment of the clubhouse, including other ways for the surf club to become financially sustainable,” he says.

“We’ve been working with Council for some time to bring this to fruition, with Councillor Brown leading the charge.”

The current zoning of all of the Municipality’s surf clubs is RE1, which prohibits most commercial activities, such as leasing a function centre or restaurant, or conducting most other commercial activities.

The July meeting authorised Destination Kiama to move ahead with the preparation of a planning proposal to change the LEP to permit additional uses on land occupied by surf clubs.

This would allow commercial/retail activities and associated facilities to be permissible, with consent.

Activating the surf clubhouses has been identified as a priority project in the Kiama Tourism Opportunity Plan, given their prime locations and underutilisation.

“We have a clubhouse revitalisation committee and are looking at a staged redevelopment that initially will focus on providing more storage,” says Richard.

“We need this LEP change so we can factor other long term things like a commercial kitchen and tourist facilities into our thinking.”

The Club is working cooperatively with Werri Boardriders and Surfing NSW to ensure a good outcome for all.

Richard thinks a DA for the first stage of the redevelopment will be lodged relatively soon.

“Our surf clubs want to be able to take advantage of funding opportunities in the future, but they need to have these changes made,” said Councillor Matt Brown.

The planning proposal and gateway process is likely to take 18 months to be approved.

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