BASS Coast Shire councillors Julian Brown, Brett Tessari and Les Larke have already shown a willingness to stick their neck out for the community, only a week after being sworn into office.
At the urging of the Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club and with the support and encouragement of Bass MP Brian Paynter, they’ve bypassed the processes of their own shire administration and written to the responsible Minister the Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio, seeking her intervention.
Signed and sent on Friday, November 11, Remembrance Day, the trio of Bunurong councillors have asked the Minister to intervene and allow the club to carry out necessary remedial works to extend the useful life of the club’s patrol tower at least until after the looming holiday season.
Mr Paynter, who has already tried unsuccessfully to intervene on behalf of the lifesaving club with the shire’s administration, has hailed the councillors’ early intent.
“It’s a good start for the new council in my opinion. Well done I say,” he said when passing on the letter from the councillors to the Minister, to various other government MPs and the media.
The letter reads as follows:
“Dear Minister – Urgent assistance required – Surf Life Saving Tower, Inverloch.
The Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club tower has been subject to severe erosion over the past 18 months. The footings of the tower, which are reinforced concrete bored piers around 3.0m in depth, have been significantly exposed, to the point where it is impacting on the safety of the structure.
Bass Coast Shire Council and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) commenced conversations with the Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club (the club) in July 2015 as to the long-term future of the tower. Options for stabilising the building using added sandbags, tethering or relocating sand around the supports have been investigated. However, these options may cause ongoing erosion issues with wave energy being dispersed along the beach. Accordingly there is no current support from your Department to do this due to ongoing erosion and dune stability concerns.
A Building Order was issued on 12 October, 2016, giving the club 30 days to carry out building works to make the structure safe. Compliance with the Building Order is due on 12 November, 2016.
The community and councillors in the Bunurong Ward are very concerned by the possible loss of the surf lifesaving facilities from this beach in Inverloch, particularly as we are about to head into the peak summer visitor season. We seek permission from your Department to undertake immediate remedial works to render the building safe in the short term, while a satisfactory longer term solution can be identified.”
The letter is signed by the three councillors.
It is unusual for councillors to go outside their own shire council to make such a request but it has been warmly welcomed by the surf club president Fiona McMahon-Hughes.