Vital upgrades to ensure Swanbourne Surf Life Saving Club is ‘rescue-ready’ are about to begin, despite soaring construction costs.
The upgrades had been valued at just over $2.1 million, but that ballooned to nearly $2.58 million.
The surf club has no disabled access or parent changing rooms and only one women’s washroom for 350 members, as well as “open gang showers”.
The storage space is the same size as it was in 1979 and since then the number of members has increased by 700%.
The club’s financial director, Mark Grzanka, said there was also “wood rot everywhere” due to a lack of ventilation.
The club had 762 members last season and were deemed ‘at full capacity’ around 10 years ago.
Mr Grzanka said there was “almost nowhere” in the club’s shed to store equipment, which forced them to be selective with resources for younger members.
“Our boathouse is like a game of Tetris, every inch of space taken up,” he said.
“We strive to be ready for rescue, but that’s not always possible with limited storage.”
Mr Grzanka compared the club’s modest request for funding to ‘architectural masterpieces’ along the coast, including the Scarborough club’s recent $13 million upgrade and upgrade of $10 million from the City Beach club.
Chairman Luke Bishop said the escalating cost was “in line with current market conditions” and the club had removed anything non-essential from scope.
The City of Nedlands will push for an additional $30,000 from the federal government, which has so far allocated $610,000, another $25,000 from the state government on top of its $500,000 and $25,000 pledge from Lotterywest, which has so far pledged $500,000.
The club itself is allocating $328,000 after increasing its commitment by $80,000.
After recently protesting against a dying children’s hospice in Swanbourne, Cr Andrew Mangano was the only one to vote against the motion.
Cr Mangano – who was also the only one to vote against drawing up a reconciliation action plan – said he was ‘not against the project’ but thought the city ‘bears the majority’ of the cost and would be at risk if the price rose further.
“We are – like Tawarri (Hot Springs) – in the middle with all the risk.” he said. “We are on the hook for this.
“There are too many risks on the city of Nedlands and not enough for the others.”
Deputy Mayor Leo McManus said the state of facilities for female members was “appalling” and basically “non-existent”.
Cr McManus pointed out that the club was a City asset and despite this City still put up a ‘miserable 20 per cent’.
The deputy mayor said: “I understand Cr Mangano is saying no to everything,” but felt the city had an obligation to support women’s participation in sport.
“It’s an iconic asset of the city and here we’re worried about spending a bit more because the costs have gone up,” he said.
“Rising costs are happening across the state and across Australia.
“This is a vital community facility that is here to save lives.”
Mayor Fiona Argyle said the club is “an integral part of who we are” and urged the council to “have a vision” in investing in the club’s future.
The financial contribution was adopted 8-1.
Mr Bishop told PerthNow the club were “very grateful” for the city’s support and were confident construction would continue whether or not other funding partners increased their contribution.
Construction is expected to start in the next few days and be completed in February 2023. The tender has been awarded to Swan Group WA.