Work starts on new $1.7m Marine Rescue base
28th April 2020
Construction has started on a new $1.7 million communications centre to provide Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie with a world-class emergency operations base for its work to save lives on the water.
Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper said the new radio base and unit headquarters was an important investment in the safety of the region’s large local and visiting boating community.
“This is a great day for the 150 volunteer members of Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie, who provide an invaluable service to our community,” Mr Piper said.
“This new centre, with upgraded facilities and equipment, will significantly enhance their ability to respond to emergencies on our local waterways 24 hours a day, every day.
“The volunteers have been operating in outdated and cramped conditions for a long time and I was very pleased to see the State Government announce funding to provide this new world-class facility as part of a $37.6 million four-year funding boost to MRNSW.
“It’s a shame that under the current pandemic restrictions the members can’t all be present to mark the start of construction but I know they would not want to wait one extra day for work to begin.”
Replacing the unit’s existing facility on Swansea Heads, the new landmark base will be equipped with the latest generation marine communications technology, supporting the volunteers’ ability to detect distress calls and respond swiftly and effectively to boaters in need of help 24/7.
It has been purpose-designed to provide dedicated command and control facilities for planning, managing and coordinating extended and multi-agency search and rescue operations.
The two-storey building will also incorporate training and meeting space, storage for essential rescue equipment, offices, amenities and kitchen facilities, a viewing platform and a lift to improve access for volunteers with a disability.
MRNSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said Lake Macquarie was consistently the busiest marine rescue unit in NSW, launching 396 rescue missions, including 50 in response to life-threatening emergencies and responding to 21,743 radio calls from boaters in 2019.
He again thanked the State Government’s for its welcome $37.6 million investment in new and refurbished operating facilities, 38 new rescue boats and continue upgrading the State’s marine radio network.
“This funding is boosting our rescue capability and ensuring our volunteers have fit-for-purpose facilities designed and equipped for modern emergency services operations – and that means greater safety for our boating community,” he said.
Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie Unit Commander Mal Wardrop said the start of work on the project was the culmination of extensive planning and input by unit members.
“Our current base has served us well but it was not built to cater to the modern, professional emergency response and management needs of our members,” he said.
“This new centre will enhance our operations and provide our members with a safe, secure working environment. We are confident that first-rate facilities such as this will also encourage new members to join the unit.”
The new base was designed by TorrenBell Building Design and is being built by Cowyn Building Group, which has a base at Charmhaven. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of the year, depending on weather.
The building schedule means the unit can continue its radio operations in the current base until October, when it will temporarily relocate to its Pelican boat facility until the new base is completed.