My Beach

With the current Coronavirus situation dictating the recent tone of news and announcements, on behalf of the Board of Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) I am delighted to be able to share some news that is both exciting and strategically significant for surf life saving here in Western Australia.

At the 2018 SLSWA Awards of Excellence, I first shared SLSWA’s intention to increase our presence in the south west region of WA, including the potential development of a permanent operational facility. This initiative fits into our broader strategy of increased investment in the regions.

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 state level activities. Certainly, the success of the recent Smiths Beach SunSmart Country Carnival, which saw record participation levels in excess of 1,000 competitors, has demonstrated this potential.

Over the past 2 years, we have assessed the suitability of several properties for the purpose of establishing a regional development centre that will provide for activities across the four pillars of our movement – Lifesaving; Education and Training; Surf Sport; and Nippers and Youth. In December 2019 an offer was made on a suitable property and on Tuesday this week the purchase of this property was finalised.

I am therefore delighted to announce that we will establish the Surf Life Saving WA Development Centre in Margaret River, with staged implementation of operations commencing next season.

The approximately 1 hectare property is within walking distance of the town centre and, following substantial redevelopment which will include upgrades to and replacement of existing facilities, will accommodate approximately 100 people in backpacker style accommodations and provide facilities conducive to our stated purpose including recreation, training, equipment storage, and administration spaces.

Whilst there is much operational planning still to be completed by the team at SLSWA, and many details yet to be finalised, I can promise you that the development centre will be extensively utilised by SLSWA for a broad range of state based member development initiatives as well as being available to all clubs for club based activities and camps. We aim to provide a world class facility for use by the membership and the broader community.

As we continue to move through this period of uncertainty and close out the 2019/20 season, albeit earlier than anticipated in many areas, there are still many positives to focus on as we see our movement here in WA continue to move from strength to strength. Our recent SunSmart Little Nippers Championships saw a record 478 competitors and, should they have proceeded, our Nipper Championships would also have enjoyed record numbers. Coupled with a record 7,800 nippers across the state, junior participation in surf life saving in WA is at an all-time high.

SLSWA will continue to support the development and retention of our members and the acquisition of the development centre is a key initiative in this strategy.