The Redlands could become a nursery for Australia’s best lifesavers with a plan for a potential $50-$60 million surf life-saving centre of excellence to be set up locally.
Councillors last night supported a motion from Mayor Karen Williams for Council to explore options to accommodate relocation of Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) state headquarters to the Redlands, with the potential for the facility to also include a new community pool and emergency services precinct.
“This facility would be real coup for the Redlands and last night’s decision is the first step in getting it off the ground,” she said.
“SLSQ has estimated 200 ongoing full time local jobs could be created if their headquarters moved to the Redlands, with hundreds of extra jobs during construction.
“With the State Government phasing out sand mining on North Stradbroke Island these jobs will be vital to our local economy.
“Beyond the obvious employment opportunities this facility would also provide a new training facility for local swimming and nipper clubs. Who knows, the next Trevor Hendy or Ian Thorpe could be produced right here in the Redlands.
“The community could also get a new pool out of this deal, which will no doubt excite local kids.”
Cr Williams said there was the potential for the facility to also include State Emergency Services, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and the Redlands Local Disaster Coordination Centre.
“The idea is for this facility to be a one-stop shop for emergency preparedness and response,” she said.
“It would be somewhere for lifesavers, SES volunteers and local emergency agencies to train and ready their disaster response, giving the community the confidence that as a city we are well-equipped to deal with any situation.”
“What better place than the city of islands for this facility to be based?” she said.
“The Redlands already hosts plenty of surf-based events and triathlons and this facility would enhance our reputation as a location of choice for beach-based events.”
Cr Williams said today’s decision opened the way for Council to explore locations and funding options, including speaking with the State Government.
“Obviously the State Government will be a big part of this facility, but we will also be speaking with other groups, clubs and organisations with an interest,” she said.
“I will also be taking this project to Canberra at the end of the month as part of the Council of Mayors delegation to ask for Commonwealth funding.
“Following these discussions a report on options will be prepared and brought back to Council for consideration.”
SLSQ chief executive officer John Brennan OAM expressed his genuine excitement for the proposed development, saying this world first initiative will position Redland City as the new home of lifesaving excellence in Queensland.
“As the state’s peak authority on aquatic safety, we’re really excited to be exploring this truly unique Centre of Excellence facility with the full support of the Redland City Council,” he said.
“Everything we do as an organisation is centred around training our dedicated volunteer lifesavers and professional lifeguards, developing best practices in lifesaving techniques and educating the community in public water safety with the ultimate goal of saving lives.
“Moving forward, the proposed SLSQ Centre of Excellence will provide us with a world class training and education facility purposely built to assist us in achieving our vision of Zero Preventable Deaths in Queensland Public Waters.”