It could be years before live melodies drift out into the sea at Coalcliff again with Wollongong City Council upholding a ban on the “Bombie Bar”.
The monthly licensed music event was the local surf life saving club’s main fundraiser for equipment and had been running for five years before council forced its closure last December.
A council spokeswoman said the council appreciated the community service that surf clubs provided and acknowledged different fundraising activities. But it said Coalcliff Surf Life Saving Club did not have development approval for the building to operate as ”a live music performance venue”.
“Council has met with members of surf club and offered guidance on the requirements needed for them to submit a development application to conduct public live musical performances at the club,” she said.
Club captain and licensee Rob Deacon said if the club submitted a new development application it would be knocked back. He said he was told the building was currently not up to standard.
“We’re pretty much over a barrel, it doesn’t look like … the Bombie will never be back in its current form unless we virtually demolish the building and start again,” Mr Deacon said.
“But then we’re subject to the same sound complaints and restrictions.”
For five years the surf club has held concerts on Sundays between 1pm and 5.30pm, with local and well known musicians such as Thirsty Merc performing.
All proceeds have gone to running the surf club and funding surf rescue equipment.
The number of events was reduced in 2016 to the first Sunday of the month following noise complaints and eventually banned altogether in December.
Thirsty Merc is returning to help the cause on March 30 for a benefit at Anita’s Theatre to help with the upkeep of the club, a fundraiser which might be organised again in the future to help with a “fighting fund”.
“If we can’t get the Bombie bar back together, and it doesn’t look like it will be, we’re going to need to fundraise a lot of money for legal costs to fight what’s happening or to rebuild the building or significantly renovate the building,” Mr Deacon said.
Surf Life Saving NSW said they would support Coalcliff SLSC if they decided to upgrade or extend the existing building to meet council approval.
“There are a number of grant programs which can assist clubs to upgrade, in particular the NSW Government’s $2M Surf Club Facility Development Program,” Ms Wishart said.
“In some cases clubs have been able to upgrade clubhouse function rooms, kitchens and so on which then allows them to derive income from hall hire which gives many clubs much-needed revenue for new rescue equipment, first aid supplies and so on.”