Cooks Hill Surf Club in countdown mode to new clubhouse | poll

NEW AND IMPROVED: An artist's impression of the new Cooks Hill Surf Club at Bar Beach upon completion. Stage one of the project's construction will begin in August. Picture: Supplied
NEW AND IMPROVED: An artist's impression of the new Cooks Hill Surf Club at Bar Beach upon completion. Stage one of the project's construction will begin in August. Picture: Supplied

THE iconic Cooks Hill Surf Club will take the next leap in its history as it presses ahead with a long overdue redevelopment.

In two months, the club will start construction on a new $4.5 million project that will eventually see the existing building knocked down.

It ends years of uncertainty over whether the revamp would ever get off the ground.

Club president Richard Hermens said it was an exciting time for members, who were briefed on construction plans last week.

Mr Hermens said the club had simply outgrown the council-owned 1930s building.

“The current facility no longer meets the needs of the community,” he said.

“The current facility was good for 150 members, and today we have over 1400.

“For us, it’s a very, very exciting time as we will have a building that allows us to do all we need to do.”

The project will be split into two stages.

FUTURE: The new Cooks Hill Surf Club from Memorial Drive. Picture: Supplied

FUTURE: The new Cooks Hill Surf Club from Memorial Drive. Picture: Supplied

The first stage – which begins in August – will see the construction of a new building north of the existing clubhouse, with construction expected be complete by the end of next year.

Stage two is the demolition of the existing clubhouse and its rebuild into a bigger facility, which is hoped to kick off in 2018.

However, only stage one has been funded, and mostly through donations from club members.

Mr Hermens said the club would likely turn to the government to meet the bulk of the $3 million shortfall for the second stage.

“We need to find the balance of the money,” he said.

The club’s experience in winning government grants has been difficult.

The club has been waiting nearly six years for funding from when the development application was first lodged.

Mr Hermens is keen to highlight the club runs many specialised surf programs, including those for people for disabilities and refugees, as reasons why the new club needs to be built and funding be made available.

The club is also one of the largest in the Hunter.

The new building is designed to reflect the wave-like appearance of the Anzac Memorial Walk.

Stage one of the project will see new female change rooms and disabled facilities at beach level, while upstairs will house training and function facilities.

Stage two will include a gymnasium, as well as a male change room, first aid and patrol rooms and craft storage. 

The inflatable rescue boats will also be housed in the main building.

The club was established in 1911. There have been other renovations in 1986 and 2003, but nothing like the scale of the current overhaul.

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