05/12/2006 - 22:00

Fremantle surf club set for major upgrade

05/12/2006 - 22:00

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The Fremantle Surf Lifesaving Club has engaged Leighton Beach developer Mirvac to produce a concept plan for a major upgrade of its clubrooms on Port Beach Road.

The Fremantle Surf Lifesaving Club has engaged Leighton Beach developer Mirvac to produce a concept plan for a major upgrade of its clubrooms on Port Beach Road.

Located close to Mirvac’s planned $400 million mixed-use coastal village on the former railway marshalling yards, the club will become a primary connection point between the new community and the beach by mid 2009.  

Fremantle SLSC president Colin Duffield told WA Business News the club was eager to get started on a building design and business plan, which he said would ensure its sustainability into the future.

The club intends to work within its existing footprint and warehouse shell by installing a second-storey with a large balcony, surrounded by function and conference rooms, offices, gym, three equipment bays, restaurant, bar and cafe.

“Rather than our board and committee members getting caught up with administration duties and fundraising, our aim is to be self sufficient enough so they can get on with the general lifesaving work,” Mr Duffield said.

The move to be self-sufficient was not lost on neighbouring Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving Club, which  revealed its own $15 million redevelopment plans in August.

While a total redevelopment would ensure more room to move at Leighton, Mr Duffield said the option was not on the table at present because the club was restricted by the 93 metre high water mark and a 100 year flood level risk.

The site also forms a strategic part of a larger state government landscape masterplan for the area, released in September, that could transform 13 hectares of marshalling yards into parklands, paved and grassed terraces, beach picnic areas and playgrounds.

Still in its draft form, the Leighton Oceanside Parklands Landscape Masterplan recommended an upgrade to the club in its current location would a suitable short-term solution, but flagged the possibility of relocating the club to an area immediately east of the site “further down the track”.

The government has set aside more than $3 million to implement the first stage of the landscape master plan. Later stages will include the extension and relocation of Curtin Avenue adjacent to the railway reserve, and changing Port Beach Road into a local road for safer beach access.

The masterplan was developed by the WA Planning Commission in consultation with the community and the local governments of Cottesloe, Mosman Park and Fremantle.

The public comment period for the draft landscape master plan closed on November 13 and a project team will shortly report on the submissions before the plan is finalised.

Established in 1935, the club had its original building replaced in 1962, and since then a minor upgrade was carried out in 1995.

Mr Duffield said the club's plan to build a mezzanine floor in 1995 failed to go ahead due to financial and planning issues.

Early cost estimates for the club’s latest vision is around $1 million, however this could change once plans are finalised in the coming months.

The 470-member club has seven years left of its lease to run with the City of Fremantle, but hopes to extend that for another 21 years to take advantage of increasing population growth in the area.

A coastal village of 170 apartments and terraces, boutique hotel, restaurants, cafes and shops is planned by Mirvac for a two-hectare site between the rail line and Port Beach Road.

The developer purchased the sought after site from the state government in October for $80 million and plans to go to market before June 2007.

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