Changes in our local population and the reasons people visit beaches, plus innovations in lifesaving technology are captured in a Draft Lifeguard Service Strategic Plan that aims to guide the service’s future operation and development.
It will be on exhibition for public comment from Wednesday October 16 until Wednesday November 13, 2019.
“Council’s Lifeguard Service delivers three core services – beach and water safety, emergency response and education,” said Enzo Accadia, Council’s Section Leader Community Programs. “The existing services are popular and valued by the community. But there are a number of demographic and industry trends which will place pressure on current and future service needs.
“The main changes are population growth, increased beach visitation by locals and visitors, the popularity of the upgraded foreshore areas, the growing number of people living or working here who come from overseas, an ageing population and an increasing number of retirees.
“In the past, our predominant beach use has been at surf beaches on weekends, but this is likely to change to more weekday visits at non-surf beach locations. There are also emerging industry trends including alternative service delivery methods – such as observation without flags – and the use of innovative technology, such as drones.
“These are all key considerations for the way we deliver Lifeguard Services now and in the future.”
Five core future service requirements have been identified:
- To sustain high quality beach patrol services that meet the increasing demands being placed on the services. Growth in service provision will need to be carefully monitored with recognised hot spots – particularly around the Jetty Beach to Park Beach area – to be prioritised in the short-term;
- A clear hierarchy of service provision, through defined and consistent service tiers for each beach patrol location – including a stronger correlation of service provision between Council Lifeguards and volunteer Surf Life Saving Clubs (SLSC);
- The level of supporting infrastructure for patrol and emergency response needs to be comparable with these hierarchical needs. This includes storage facilities, safe elevated viewing platforms and plant and equipment;
- Education services will become more critical in support of prevention rather than reaction. Both in maintaining the successful school-based programs and continuing to identify and engage at-risk communities, including culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities;
- The need for the ongoing improvement of relationships and understanding between Council’s Lifeguard Service and volunteer SLSC and respective peak bodies.
Council staff will be available at the Harbourside Markets at the Jetty Foreshore on Sunday November 3 for people to drop by and ask question about the Draft Plan.
To make a submission, or to access the Draft Plan and further information, go to Council’s Have Your Say website: https://haveyoursay.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/lifeguard-services-strategic-plan-exhibition
Following the public consultation, a further report on the submissions received will be presented to Council in December 2019.