Safety call for life savers

Pt Lonsdale back beach. 175746 Picture: Rebecca Hosking

Swimmers on Point Lonsdale’s back beach are increasingly at risk as the Victorian Government continues to ignore their safety and the local Surf Life Saving Club facilities.
Western Victoria Region MP Simon Ramsay, told the Victorian Parliament last week that the Point Lonsdale Surf Club’s Back Beach facility is in desperate need of repair.
“The Back Beach is notoriously dangerous. But the government is ignoring requests for the SLSC facility – that monitors that beach – to be repaired to standard,” Mr Ramsay said.
The Back Beach base is also known as the HC Windmill Back Beach Base building. It is suffering badly from concrete cancer.
The building is used for storage of some of the club’s equipment and a tower enabling SLS volunteers to patrol the back beach.
After much lobbying, the government announced funding of $1.5 million for the club’s $4.5 million redevelopment of it’s front beach club house in May this year.
The clubrooms were built in the 1960s but are now too small for the club’s 1100-plus membership.
“But it is the back beach that needs immediate help.
“Half a million dollars is needed to repair the damage caused by the concrete cancer so that this very vital patrol service for swimmers can continue to operate normally,” Mr Ramsay said.
“It is reaching an emergency situation and the Emergency Services Minister James Merlino can solve this problem by accessing emergency funds.”
Marking the start of summer, Surf Life Saving patrols officially began across the state on the weekend.
“In 2016/17, there was a 20 per cent increase in drowning deaths in Victoria.
“Without the government’s help, the Point Lonsdale SLS volunteers may be forced to change the way they guard the back beach.
“Our surf life savers do everything they can to make life safer for others.
“This is the government’s opportunity to return the effort and make life safer for the volunteers.”

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