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Storm devastates lifesavers

Wonthaggi Life Saving Club’s access ramp to the beach was ripped away during Friday’s storm.

AN intense, localised storm has left the Wonthaggi Life Saving Club wondering what its future holds.
Around 125mm of rain and hail ripped through the club on Friday afternoon, destructing facilities as the surrounding coast was covered in a blanket of hail
Bass Coast Shire Council staff and volunteers yesterday (Monday) assessed what could be salvaged.
An urgent meeting was called on Sunday for members and supporters.
“It’s looking very bleak for the club,” club president Mark Scott said.
Upon arriving at the scene on Friday afternoon, Mr Scott described the state of the club as a “war zone”.
“The storm ripped up the access ramp to the beach and left a 20 foot drop. It ripped through the playground and barbecue areas and flooded the lower section of our hall. The high tide is still threatening our buildings,” he said.
The SES was called into help fill the drop in the beach near the access ramp and clear some of the mess.
Volunteers from the club and community helped clean up.
The damage was made all the more devastating by the fact the club spent $200,000 to repair its lookout building.
“We’ve just finished tireless fundraising efforts by volunteers to do the current urgent maintenance works on the clubhouse which is due to finish this week, but now with this flooding disaster, we will need to find further financial and support for a new clubhouse,” Mr Scott said. 
The 61 year old club was identified as in urgent need of repair and flood mitigation work at least five years ago, and Mr Scott said the time for sausage sizzles was over.
“We just can’t do this anymore. We hear a lot of talk from politicians but what we need is State and Federal government money to rebuild the club,” he said.
“The community took matters into its own hands and raised $200,000 through fundraisers and grants, and the upgrade work was just days from being finished.
“The buildings and club will be rebuilt and the support we receive from this little community is fantastic.”
During previous flooding, water took out foundations and inundated the hall.
Council CEO Ali Wastie said council will assess the best course of action and possible funding through the State Government.
“With regard to the Wonthaggi Life Saving Club building, council issued an emergency order on Friday evening, which required the building to be secured and evacuated,” she said.
Council has extended the order for a further three days to allow for further structural assessments.
Sand renourishment works were completed over the weekend to help protect the lifesaving club building from damage from high tides.
A Go Fund Me page will be set up to raise funds.
Life Saving Victoria is supporting the club.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=28639

Posted by on May 14 2019. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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