A new lifesaving clubhouse will be built in Ocean Grove, boosting the safety of beachgoers at one of Victoria’s most popular surf beaches.

Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville today turned the first sod for the project, which will see Ocean Grove’s ageing clubhouse replaced with a modern, fit-for-purpose building.

Ms Neville also announced the 2018-19 Victorian Budget included an additional $1.2 million for the build, bringing the Victorian Government’s total contribution to $4.3 million.

The new facilities will give volunteer lifesavers more space to support their summer patrols, as well as education and training opportunities as part of the club’s strong commitment to aquatic sports.

It will also provide year-round facilities for Ocean Grove residents and visitors to enjoy.

In addition to the Labor Government’s investment, the Australian Government is contributing $1 million, while the City of Geelong has provided $150,000.

The new clubhouse is set to open next year and is part of a wider redevelopment of the site, which also includes a rebuild of The Dunes café.

Formed in 1948, the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club currently has about 1000 members, with approximately a third of those junior or “nipper” members.

Ocean Grove’s main beach is patrolled every summer by volunteers from the club. During the 2017-18 season, lifesavers and lifeguards performed 7862 preventive actions and 82 first-aid treatments.

The clubhouse rebuild will not affect patrols during the 2018-19 summer.

 Quotes attributable to Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville

“We are investing millions of dollars to ensure lifesavers have the facilities they need to respond to incidents and keep people safe on the water.”

“The Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club has been keeping beachgoers safe for the past 70 years, and these new facilities will help members continue their wonderful work.”

“The current clubhouse has a long and distinguished history. But it is no longer serving members’ needs, so this project will deliver a much-needed boost to volunteers, Ocean Grove residents and visitors to the Bellarine Peninsula.”