How have the refurbishment plans been developed?

    The entire Surf Life Saving Club Building (SLSC) requires repairs and upgrades that have been identified over the past five years by both council officers and external consultants.

    Council investigated construction of a new building to the north of the existing building as proposed in the Blue Mile Master Plan. This location has a deep sewer underground that would need approvals and structural consideration and Council was unable to gain Sydney Water support to pursue this. Cost estimates for a new building were more than twice the cost of refurbishment. In June 2016 Council made a decision to stop pursuing the construction of a new building to the north. 

    Given the heritage values of the existing building and ongoing discussion with the Club about their needs it was decided to commence plans for refurbishment. Council has worked with the Clubs Building Committee and external architects to develop the draft plans that are now open for community comment. These upgrades and repairs will meet the Clubs needs for the next 20 years.

    What is the history and heritage status of the SLSC building?

    The building was constructed in 1936 after a period of discussions between North Wollongong Club Members and Council about the need for a permanent home for the Club.

    As originally built, the North Wollongong Club building was a good representative example of what has become defined as the Inter War Functionalist style. This architectural style, which was prevalent during the second half of the 1930s to the early 1950s, was derived from the Modernist architecture that was built in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. 

    The public facilities at North Beach were greatly enhanced by the opening of the Kiosk and Bathing Pavilion in November 1938, which greatly complemented the architecture of the Club Building.

    Over time the Club building has been modified and extended as the needs of the Club changed, particularly from the 1960s.  The building is a local heritage item and the heritage impacts are being considered in the process. 

    What works are proposed?

    The works include:

    ·  refurbishment of the ground floor of the SLSC to provide updated facilities and rectify a deteriorated structure and building services

    ·  demolition and reconstruction of the eastern patrol room and and removal of lower boat shed

    ·  the addition of a lift to improve access to the first floor function room

    ·  new windows and doors

    ·  painting of external walls including the 1936 original building to match with the face brick of the Kiosk and Bathers Pavilion  (State Heritage listed buildings)

    ·  the construction of a seawall to provide coastal protection and improve amenity and access

    Why do we need a seawall at this location?

    Ocean waves during storm events have an incredible amount of energy which can cause significant damage to unprotected buildings, roads and other infrastructure. The erosion of beach dunes and foreshore land areas and loss of vegetation can also occur. Australia's highly variable climate, coupled with the projected impact of climate change – including increases in sea level and storm intensity – will inevitably result in increased hazards to coastal communities.

    At North Beach we have an existing “crib wall” for part of the shoreline,  which is a retaining wall and never designed to be a protective seawall. The northern extent is protected with buried gabions. These  do provide some protection from minor storm events, but with the projected increased storm intensities and sea level rises it will not function to protect the valuable public buildings, walkways, road ways and other assets into the future.

    Council has completed a plan for managing the risks from coastal hazards, with  advice from external coastal consultants.  The Wollongong Coastal Zone Management Plan identifies three main options for managing risks which are to retreat, adapt or protect.  Retreat may include buyback of properties, or relocation of infrastructure and services such as roads, energy, water and communications.  Adaptation might include raising buildings, or adapting public amenities to better withstand impacts. Protection includes seawalls and beach nourishment, where sand is brought back onto beaches.

    At North Beach a seawall was identified as the best option as it will provide structural support to the SLSC building, land area and other assets along the foreshore. 

    What has been considered in the concept design for the seawall?

    The key considerations have been to provide a robust coastal engineering structure to provide protection from severe storm erosion, and to maximise access to the beach and the amenity value of the wall and adjoining promenade area.

    In terms of access and amenity we are proposing two bays of seating along the wall, several sets of stairs onto the beach, a boat ramp for the club and an access ramp suitable for beach wheel chairs. 

    Council has engaged independent expert coastal engineers to investigate the beach conditions, prepare a report and refine the concept for the seawall

    Will the seawall have an impact on coastal processes in this area?

    We referred our design to an independent coastal engineer to review. They looked at its ability to protect the foreshore and any likely impacts on sand and water movement in and around the structure. They assessed that the design of the wall would not have an impact on coastal processes occurring in this area.

    When will the works commence and how long will it take?

    The roof and ground floor refurbishment of the building will start in Winter 2020, with the roof to be completed by December 2020. The ground floor works will be completed  by  March 2021.

    The sea wall construction is planned to start in Winter  2022 and finish in Winter 2023. Unpredictable weather and ocean conditions may impact on the length of time required to complete the seawall. The wall will be constructed in two stages to allow early opening of the southern end of the work site and beach. There will be temporary sea defences and a boat ramp between 2020 and 2022. 

    Cost of the project

    The preliminary costs of the roof replacement and groundfloor refurbishment of the Club is $2.9 million.

    The SLSC are seeking grant funding for future refurbishment to the upper floor of the building. This includes the proposed eastern balcony, lift access and any other refurbishment.

    The new seawall is estimated at $5.75 million.

    What impact will the construction works have on the beach and promenade area?

    During works on the building there will be a loss of access to parts of the promenade around the building. Project fencing and signage will be installed to indicate areas that cannot be accessed and safe paths of travel.

    During construction of the seawall The beach area where the seawall is being constructed will largely be fenced off excluding any access. At low tides there may be some access possible along the beach below the fenced off area. 

    Pedestrian and cycle access will be maintained along the existing shared path. 

    What impact will the project have on access at North Beach?

    The project construction zone will enable the community to continue to access restaurants and cafes in the precinct.   

    Will there be much noise during construction?

    The seawall works may require specialised machinery for excavation and piling. Normal construction noise should be expected during working hours.  To maximise works efficiencies, seawall construction may require extended hours. 

    What landscaping will be done around the building and seawall?

    A landscape plan is being developed by landscape architects. It will be in line with recommendations in the Blue Mile Master Plan. 

    What are the arrangements for safe swimming?

    Council lifeguards and the volunteers from North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club will continue to provide patrols and erect a flagged swimming area. The location of the area will consider prevailing sea conditions and site constraints. 

    Will there be impact on major events that use this area?

    We will work with our Events team at Council to advise any potential event organisers about disruptions to North Beach and surrounding areas. No major events such as surf carnivals will be able to be held on North beach for the length of the project. City Beach or other suitable beaches could be used for beach events while North Beach is not available. 

    What happens after community engagement?

    Due to the location and nature of the site, the proposed works will need to be referred to a number of authorities for comment and approvals.

    The refurbishment of the SLSC will go through a Development Application (DA) and be referred to the relevant authorities under that process.  The DA process will include advertising of the proposal.  Council will review the community feedback and consider changes to the concept plans.

    DA consent for the roof replacement has already been lodged and approved. A tender process will be undertaken with replacement works in Winter 2019. 

    The seawall construction falls under a separate planning process.  It will be assessed against the SEPP (Infrastructure) 2007 and the proposed seawall reconstruction will be considered in accordance with the requirements of Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act).  The assessment will be documented in a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) and the relevant authorities will be consulted and where required approvals obtained.  These include:

    • Department Primary Industry (Fisheries)
    • Crown Lands
    • NSW Heritage Office
    • Coastal Panel
    • Office of Environment and Heritage
    • Sydney Water  

    The final design of the seawall will also require approval from the NSW Heritage Council under the NSW Heritage Act 1977 as the seawall will extend into the State Heritage Registered “North Beach Precinct”.

    Assuming approvals are given construction is estimated to commence in Winter 2021.

    How can I have my say?

    There are many way to have your say:

    ·  You can write to us at Community Engagement, Wollongong City Council, Locked Bag 8821 DC NSW 2500

    ·  You can email us at

    ·  You can visit our website and fill in a feedback form.

    ·  You can attend the on-site kiosk being held on Saturday 11th August from 10.30 am to 12. 30 pm and talk to staff about the proposal and provide feedback.