$750K upgrade for Dixon Park Surf Club

20 Dec 2017

Overdue change rooms for women surf lifesavers and better, more accessible amenities for all will make Dixon Park Surf Lifesaving Club (DPSLSC) an even better social hub following its $750,000 redevelopment.

Newcastle City Council will add $250,000 to the NSW Government's pledge of $350,000 and $150,000 from DPSLSC to upgrade the club and adjacent amenities block on the Bathers Way coastal pathway.

New accessible toilets, updated women's and men's change rooms and a surf club space with kitchenette will be built on the ground floor of the southern end of the building, which will better connect with the grassed area popular among weekend coffee drinkers.

Concept plan courtesy QOH Architects

Upgraded public amenities with oversized cubicles and ambulant stalls designed in consultation with Ability Links NSW will be included at the northern end.

"I'm so proud to announce that Council will deliver another Surfclub renewal in collaboration with Dixon Park Surf Club and the State Government," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

"This will be a much-needed makeover for all members of the public and local lifesavers, especially the proper facilities for female members.

"The club is now hugely popular thanks to the Bathers Way project, with crowds gathering on the grass each weekend for a coffee and breakfast on the lawn, and this is just the first stage of its redevelopment.

"Coastal revitalisation is one of my priorities, particularly for the social and community benefits in terms of health, increased tourism, mixed use and commercial opportunities, and the new building will cater to the needs of increasing numbers of visitors."

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald and Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes with the Dixon Park nippers.

Lifesaver Lisa Wright, Hunter Surf Lifesaving's Interbranch Captain, said the addition of the women's change rooms would be welcomed by her sister club members.

"I will be very happy when the surf club gets upgraded," said the 32-year-old beach sprinter, an Australian beach flags champion and club member for the past six years.

"I swim there regularly and do about 10 patrols a season, so the upgrade will make things much more convenient for me.

"My partner is also a member and our 18-month-old son will be a nipper in a few years, so we'll all be grateful for the improved facilities."

Architect Tim Blackall said the upgrade had been designed to improve Dixon Park's social atmosphere.

"The intent of the design is to improve the amenity for club members and the public and facilitate and increase the opportunities for interaction between club and beach users," Blackall, of QOH Architects, said.

"The new works will utilise the eastern colonnade and adjacent lawn as club and community space and build upon its popularity as a social hub."

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Mr Scot MacDonald said the Government's Surf Club Facility Program aimed to increase the availability, standard and quality of surf lifesaving clubs.

“Surf Life Saving NSW does immensely important work saving lives and providing opportunities for people of all ages to get fit and healthy,” Mr MacDonald said.

“The NSW Government wants to make the work of life savers as easy as possible – we can’t control the water but we can improve facilities like this.”

An accessible toilet plus parents change and an accessible shower will be included in the northern end of the building.

It will also include storage space for council staff - cleaning, maintenance and lifeguard storage - plus space for the surf club's inflatable rescue-boat and gym equipment.

The first floor at the southern end of the building will be developed at a later stage and include a large community room and kitchen.