Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) has announced the acquisition of property in Margaret River which will see them establish an operational base and development centre in the Southwest.
Surf Life Saving WA President, Craig Smith-Gander said the approximately 1-hectare property located on Railway Terrace will provide the ideal location from which the organisation will base a range of regional activities and operations throughout the season.
“As one of WA’s premier coastal tourism destinations, and home to six of our surf life saving clubs, the Southwest is a very important region for surf life saving and offers considerable potential for growth, both in terms of local membership and engagement, and state-level activities,” said Mr. Smith-Gander.
Surf Life Saving WA’s recent Country Carnival saw in excess of 1,000 surf sports competitors from across WA travel to Smiths Beach to compete across the Australia Day long weekend.
The proposed redevelopments to the property, formerly operating as the Margaret River Lodge, include upgrades too, and replacement of, existing facilities to accommodate approximately 100 people in backpacker style accommodations, with a range of facilities to support operations including emergency response activities, training and recreation, equipment storage, and administration spaces.
Mr. Smith-Gander said the facility would be utilised extensively by SLSWA for a broad range of state-based member training and development initiatives as well as being available to all our clubs for club based activities and camps.
“We aim to provide a world-class facility for use by the membership and the broader community,” he said.
Surf Life Saving WA currently operates the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter out of the Busselton Margaret River Airport, the Wesfarmers Emergency Response Jet Ski teams at various locations across the region, as well as delivering professional lifeguard services on behalf of a number of Southwest councils.
“In particular, our Wesfarmers Emergency Response Jet Ski Teams are an important asset for the region, regularly tasked to assist WAPOL and other agencies in search & rescue activity,” said Mr. Smith-Gander.
“These operations often take place across several days, with members travelling from across the state to assist, so this facility will also provide an important hub for these operations, as well as a location to store equipment which will allow for fast response times.
“We see this facility as an important resource for Surf Life Saving in WA”, he said.
Redevelopment is expected to commence in the latter half of the year.
Photo courtesy B. Prinsloo