Warilla lifeguards finally have a new tower after years of delays and dodgy building.
Shellharbour City Council has completed the lifeguard tower that overlooks Warilla Beach.
Work on a new tower to replace the original hut-like lifeguard premises started in 2017.
Two years on, the tower has storage space on the bottom level and a top floor with balcony for the lifeguards to patrol from the north to south of the beach.
Beach lifeguard supervisor Murray Copas said the new tower would become the focal point for lifeguard operations for the all Shellharbour beaches.
"The tower is a significant upgrade and is now a modern facility," he said. "The increased elevation means we can better understand the beach and see to Windang Island and to Little Beach. We can easily launch the jet ski if there is an emergency."
Mayor Marianne Saliba said the project had come in under budget despite the delays.
Work was expected to be completed in December 2017. However, in July 2018 council took over the project from Flinders-based Knorr Constructions and the work put on hold after complications with the builder.
There were delays in the delivery of the project and issues with construction, including a number of critical defects in the first floor slab and the concrete walls.
"It was cheaper to pull down the tower than rectify the problems," Cr Saliba said. "We are still taking legal action against the contractor.
"The tower is a fantastic asset, where safety is at the forefront and it is a great amenity for the lifeguards who use it."
The external grey concrete facade of the building is not complete.
"Council staff will discuss getting community murals and artwork painted on the facade to brighten it up," Cr Saliba said.
"We don't want to rush into the project. We want the community to be involved in the process so they have ownership over the murals which means there is less chance of it being vandalised.
"The murals could be of something distinctive to Warilla."
Mr Copas said the old facility was "tight, cramped and uncomfortable" but now the tower would be a year-round base for council lifeguard service operations and would support 40 lifeguards and six patrol locations.
It will also be used by Warilla Barrack-Point Surf Life Saving Club. Club president Alan Beveridge said the upgrade brought the tower into the 21st century. "It will help us patrol, even though we prefer to be on the beach, and to monitor the drones that search the water and watch swimmers," he said.
"The tower helps us to be proud of the area and club."
The portable tower will be moved to Warilla north beach in time for the December school holidays and Warilla South will receive a new portable tower for summer thanks to funding from the state government.