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New facility in Margaret River to become training hub for Surf Life Saving WA

New facility in Margaret River to become training hub for Surf Life Saving WA
April 20, 2020

Margaret River, one of Western Australia's most popular tourism destinations is expected to become a training hub for Surf Life Saving WA.

With it being the first of its kind in the state, Surf Life Saving WA President Craig Smith-Gander said the approximately one 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.

Smith-Gander advised “as one of WA’s premier coastal tourism destinations, and home to six of our surf life saving clubs, the south west 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.”

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 to, 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.

Smith-Gander noted “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,”

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 south west councils.

Smith-Gander highlighted that “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.

“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.”

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River President Ian Earl said it was welcome news at a time when the town was struggling economically during the Coronavirus pandemic.

"I suspect the people who will come down and stay — the hundred people or so that will be there [at any one time] — they'll have a bit more disposable income.

"It will be a big boost to the economy when we get the economy going again."

It is hoped the centre will be up and running in some capacity by summer 2020.

Image: Smiths Beach Country Carnival courtesy of Surf Life Saving WA and Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter

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