By mid next year the Port Kembla surf life saving clubhouse will be transformed, with the ability to host functions overlooking the Pacific Ocean with one of the best views in the Illawarra.
The club has scaled up the vision for its renovations, which were first proposed to Wollongong City Council in early 2022.
Thanks to multiple grants from the state government, as well as a $138,000 grant from Squadron Energy, which is building the Port Kembla gas import terminal, the club now plans to run functions and events from its upgraded clubhouse with an estimated opening date of mid-2024.
Club secretary Nathan Boscaro said the major project would enable the club to become self-sustaining.
"This will allow us to keep our assets rescue ready, and make sure that our members have what they need at all times," he said.
Just this year, the club's all terrain vehicle and inflatable rescue boat had to be replaced, at a cost of $50,000.
"This will allow us to keep on top of that," Mr Boscaro said.
Once complete, the main room will be flanked by a commercial kitchen and a bar, with floor to ceiling glass doors opening out towards the sea.
At the rear, the courtyard is being upgraded to be fully accessible and connect directly to the main room, allowing guests to spill out onto the back deck.
Originally, the club would have had to work with an operator to have critical elements such as the appliances needed for a commercial kitchen installed, however the additional funding meant that the club remained in control of the entire building, Mr Boscar said.
"Now that we have obtained all these funding sources, it gives us a lot more opportunities than what we originally thought we were going to have."
Dr Rochelle Macdonald, executive general manager of operations at Squadron said the company wanted to enable the club to remain in the community.
"We're investing in something that's going to lead to the sustainability of the club, so that this can continue to be a community asset," she said.
In addition to the grant from Squadron, Port Kembla Surf Life Saving Club has received funds from the Surf Club Facility Grants and the Port Kembla Community Investment Fund, both administered by the NSW government.
With major works expected to be completed by December and final fit-out by July 2024, Mr Boscar said by this time next year, the community would have a club they could celebrate.
"Next year people will be able to call us up if they want to have their birthdays, a function, they'll be able to use it."
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