Plans to demolish the former Woolgoolga Surf Club stalled by community

Community concern over demolition of the historic Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club has delayed its demolition, which was set down for early November. Photo: Emma Darbin.


DEMOLITION plans for the former Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club are being advertised for public comment by Coffs Harbour City Council, following public concern over the imminent demolition of the historic building.

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Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club president Les Pepper lodged a development application to demolish the dilapidated 70-year-old surf club building with Council on October 27, at a cost of around $65,000.

Once word of its demolition got out over Woolgoolga community Facebook pages, locals started calling for a ‘Save the Woolgoolga Surf Club’ campaign.

Some argued that the historic building should be salvaged and stated it was a Woolgoolga icon, akin to Melbourne’s famous bathing boxes, which should not be destroyed.

The new $3.9 million Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club (located just south of the former club) officially opened to the public on 26 September.

Once the new surf club opened, it was always planned that the former surf club would be demolished as part of Council’s current Woolgoolga Beach Reserve revitalisation works, with the NSW Crown land underneath the old surf club to be reclaimed back to natural parkland and turf laid on the site once the surf club was demolished.

Woolgoolga Surf Lifesaving Club president Les Pepper said he was extremely frustrated by the delay of the former surf club’s demolition, and he would now be forced to have a fence erected around the surf club to protect the public from the ageing building over the summer period.

“All it does is make the place look terrible with a fence around it, and it’s costing us money,” Mr Pepper said.

“The demolition of that building was planned for Monday, and it won’t happen now till February.”

“In two weeks time it could have been demolished and the land all been public space.”

Mr Pepper said the surf club committee made a deal with Council that when the new surf club was built, they would demolish the old surf club.

“The deal has been made and we won’t go back on the deal, it’s as simple as that,” Les said.

“And also, it states in our lease that we have to demolish the building if we move out of it.

“It’s a legal binding document, I don’t know how they (the community) are going to try and beat that.”

In terms of the community regarding the former surf club as a historic Woolgoolga icon, Les said “things move on, it’s progress, that’s the way it is”.

Mr Pepper said the NSW Government had tried to heritage list the surf club a few years ago, and their application was denied.

“It has been assessed that it’s not a heritage listed building,” Mr Pepper said.

“It’s a shame it has to go, but we’ve outlived it, it’s passed its used by date, it’s too small for what we want.

“It’s not a community building, it’s a surf lifesaving club, it’s an emergency services organisation for storing rescue gear and patrolling beaches.”

Mr Pepper said the delay in demolishing the former surf club will affect Council’s revitalisation works at Woolgoolga Beach Reserve, which will now not be completed by Christmas.

The development application for the demolition of the former Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club can be viewed on Council’s website at by visiting the DA Tracker webpage and searching for 0405/21DA.

The development application will be publicly advertised until Friday 27 November, and public submissions can be made at



One thought on “Plans to demolish the former Woolgoolga Surf Club stalled by community

  1. What is going on down there? Seems any heritage is at risk. How do leaders and big guys have so little imagination and act so disdainfully towards the citizenry?

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