Beach patrols funds threat

AFTER decades of saving countless lives Peregian Beach Surf Life Saving Club could be forced to cut back its patrolling if a funding lifeline is halved by the council.

That is the grim reality club president Brett Leckie and his fellow volunteers are hoping can be avoided as they lobby Sunshine Coast Council from Mayor Mark Jamieson through to local Councillor Russell Green to not wield the axe on Peregian Originals free fortnightly concerts from 24 a year to just 12.

Unlike the cashed up surf clubs on the Coast, Mr Leckie said the Sunday afternoon Originals sausage sizzle offered the financial support that could not be replaced. Even with these major fundraisers, the club has been forced to staff the upstairs sections of the supporters' club dining and bar with members who volunteer their service.

After allowing the Originals concerts to retain their 24 concerts a year schedule after an amazing show of people power came out to support the concerts staying in town fortnightly, council staff are not convinced the management plans put forward by concert organisers East Coast Originals will ease the concerns of local residents.

Councillors will vote on August 23 on whether to endorse the recommendation for a concert on the first Sunday of every month, allowing an event to be held on the third Sunday of that month if the first event is rained out.

"I can't make it any clearer that this scale back will come at a major cost to us," Mr Leckie told the Noosa News this week.

"A likely outcome (if the concert numbers are halved) is that we will possibly have to scale back our patrolling duties - the whole club's standing is in question.

" I've written to the mayor and all of the councillors individually - I've spoken to as many as I can giving them the same story that it's the major fundraiser for the club."

Mr Leckie said the club was also meeting with Cr Green on Monday to remind him how perilous the club's position was and how unworkable the new arrangement would be.

"If it rains, they (concert organisers) can't reschedule for the third Sunday - these are major acts that come and go from the Coast and are booked months in advance. To say come back in a few weeks' time is not really going to work, so the event will crumble."

The report to go to the council next week refers to the surf club's reliance on the concerts for revenue.

"Potential financial dependency of the club on this event in terms of their long-term sustainability can only be assessed if and when the club presents purported losses to council," the report states.

"Following the ordinary meeting in June 2012, the Peregian Beach Surf Life Saving Club has submitted their financials for consideration of council."

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