June 5 -11, 2022: Issue 541
Mona Vale SLSC's New Clubhouse Grand Opening
The official Grand Opening of the new Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Clubhouse took place on Saturday June 4th, 2022.
The impressive new building on Mona Vale's beachfront ticks all the boxes: sympathetic to the environment in its design, sustainable and accessible, providing a function space for the community, while meeting the operational needs of lifesavers.
Mayor Michael Regan said the beautiful new Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club exceeds all expectations.
“Lifesavers play such a vital role in keeping our community safe and it’s important that their facilities are top notch,” Mayor Regan said.
“This building meets all the practical requirements of surf life savers, but it is also flexible for a wide range of uses.
“This spectacular new building is an enduring legacy and something the whole community can be proud of.”
Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club President Paula Tocquer was excited to open the doors of the new club building.
“The new club building is just amazing. The quality and the design is beautiful. So many locals have commented on how it fits into the surrounding landscape, and it looks fantastic from the water,” Ms Tocquer said.
“The surf club is a building not only to keep the community safe but also as a place to meet, enjoy and gather. I am sure the Mona Vale community is just as excited as I am.”
Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club President Paula Tocquer at the official opening of the MVSLSC new clubhouse
President of Surf Life Saving NSW George Shales said the new facilities will help the club’s 1,200 members and lifeguards to keep the community safe.
“Congratulations to everyone involved in this project, it looks fantastic and will provide volunteer lifesavers with fit for purpose facilities to support their vital role in protecting the public,” Mr Shales said.
“The new club will be a hub for the local community and hopefully attract more people to get involved in surf life saving in the future.”
Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes announced in October 2018 the NSW Government has provided a further $2.5 million to assist with the upgrade of Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club.
The funds were in addition to $1.4 million allocated to the project in 2017, bringing the NSW Government’s total contribution to $3.9 million.
The Hon. Rob Stokes said the new clubhouse is a vital upgrade to one of our most important community facilities.
“Mona Vale is one of Sydney’s most popular beaches during summer and its lifesavers perform an invaluable service.
“Surf clubs aren’t just places that accommodate surf rescue equipment and training facilities – they’re also key community hubs used by dozens of local groups and organisations.
“This project has been on the to-do-list for many years – so it’s great the NSW Government has partnered with Northern Beaches Council and the club to this vital project completed.” Mr Stokes said.
The Hon. Rob Stokes at the official opening of the MVSLSC new clubhouse
Pittwater Ward Councillor Miranda Korzy, who attended the official opening said:
''Mona Vale surf club president Paula Tocquer cut the ribbon opening the much anticipated new home of the Mona Vale SLSC this morning, watched by a crowd enjoying brilliant sunshine seemingly ordered specially for the day!
However, before the opening, Umbarra man Les McLeod carried out a moving smoking ceremony with the ocean as backdrop, blessing the beach and clubhouse, and expressing hope for the safety of all who use them.
Umbarra man Les McLeod
The new clubhouse is the fourth to have graced this site, after one was built in 1923 on land bought for £25 pounds the previous year ($1,500 in today’s currency), Ms Tocquer and Mr Stokes noted during their speeches. Planning for it began under Pittwater Council, and it was later constructed under Northern Beaches Council with money from the club, the council and NSW government Stronger Communities funding.
An emotional Ms Tocquer also told the crowd - of Mona Vale and other SLSC members including executives, Pittwater MP Rob Stokes and a variety of other locals including NBC Mayor Michael Regan and other councillors - that the origins of the club go back even further, with every one of its original members having died in the First World War.
Speeches were followed by a march past of a squad of hardy clubbies - all women, a change from the early days - before the ribbon cutting and throwing open the doors.
The dramatic boxes of the concrete, timber and glass exterior are enhanced inside with more timber imprinted concrete, fine wooden finishes, and magnificent views of the ocean. The club is also fortunate that local artist Mick Glasheen has endowed it with one of his artworks - depicting a rock platform with Aboriginal shield carvings from Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The club has hung it behind the bar looking out to sea.
Mr McLeod and Mr Glasheen collaborated on other artworks for the building, stencilling a series of shield designs and fish from rock engravings in Ku-ring-gai Chase that are then reproduced in its concrete. After the ceremony, Mr McLeod, from the Wreck Bay area on the NSW south coast whose totem is Gurawal (or whale), said he had discussed the choice of designs with local Guringai people. He explained the significance of the shields on the building's pillars, representing the trees from which the original shields depicted on the rock of Kur-ing-gai Chase would have been cut. The artworks linked the building to ancient First Nations culture, he said, which he hoped it would help local residents learn about.
I have expressed concern in the past about the location of the new club on the foredune of Mona Vale Beach at a time of projected sea level rise, especially due to its history of coastal erosion. Given the tradition of surf clubs in Sydney providing showers and toilets for anyone visiting the beach, I also think it's a shame that the new building - on public land and with large amounts of public funding - doesn't continue this tradition. There has also been controversy about Northern Beaches surf clubs providing restaurants and cafes as this one does.
However, the outcome at Mona Vale is spectacular and it was great to talk to club executives this morning who envisage the building becoming a centre for the wider community. In fact, members of one local Probus Club were there checking the room where their next monthly meeting will take place!
I hope the quality of building and community focus can be reproduced in other public buildings across the Northern Beaches.''
The $10 million project, which includes the new beach amenities block south of the main building, has facilities that are family-friendly and accessible. It caters not only for the surf club and its members, but also the local boardriders club, beachgoers and the whole community.
Elevated glass pavilions house the new restaurant The Basin as well as a lounge bar and function room capturing spectacular views of the beach and headland.
The ground floor houses the new Nine Yards café, first aid room, nippers’ facilities, storage and public amenities.
Aboriginal art is also tied into aspects of the building with artists Michael Glasheen and Leslie McLeod commissioned to develop works for the outdoor space.
Shields are incorporated into the columns outside the café and marine figures are carved into the seating structures around the site, reflecting and celebrating Indigenous connection to Country.
This project was made possible thanks to funding from Pittwater Council's SRV and Council, the NSW Government’s Stronger Communities Fund and the Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club.
To Celebrate this great new facility for Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club Members and the community, a special History feature has been complied to run this Issue.
That's available in: Mona Vale SLSC: The Clubhouses - Some History
MVSLSC Grand Opening on the 4th of June included opening the doors to the community to walk through the new building from 1pm and the bar opened at 3pm with Miffi Music playing live.
On December 21st 2015 Pittwater Council resolved to provide in principle support for the rebuild of Mona Vale Surf Club, and began preliminary investigations to prepare a detailed business case for renewing the facility at Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club. The business progressed to the planning phase and was identified in Council's capital works program to develop an agreed concept plan in collaboration with the Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club. The new building proposed to be constructed on the existing surf club site was to be two stories with a floor area expected to be twice that of the existing facility.
In June 2011 the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) approved Pittwater Council’s application for a special rate variation (SRV). This resulted in an increase in rates over three years (2011-2014). The funds support additional infrastructure works and environmental programs. A ten year Community Contract was established to ensure accountability and transparency over the financial years 2011/12 to 2020/21. The final projects under this community contract were included in the 2021/22 Budget and included Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club's new clubhouse.
The new building floor area was proposed to be in the vicinity of 1400m2. The building is approx. 1690m² in built area including balconies. The original building’s built area was approx. 933m. The new building has two storeys with lift access. The building is approximately 8.5m in height at the highest point.
The build was commenced in late May, 2021. Visit: Members Get Plastered To Mark Official Start Of New Mona Vale SLSC
In addition to the Mona Vale Surf Life Saving renewal project the then new Northern Beaches Council approved two new external public amenities buildings, as part of the 2019-2023 Delivery Program. As a result public amenities at Mona Vale Beach have been completed with the construction of new amenities in Apex Park and the upgrade of the existing amenities adjacent to the pool.
Council's draft budget for 2022/2023 has also allocated $308,000 for Mona Vale Beach upgrades.
Photos by Michael Mannington OAM, Pittwater Online News Features photographer and Founder of Community Photography