Canoe Club cries out for help

Far North Coast Canoe Club vice president Marion Brownlie, ankle deep in sludge, appeals to Lismore mayor Merv King for help.

Members of the Far North Coast Canoe Club are sick and tired of their sub-standard facilities.

The 80 member club, which is situated under the Laurie Allen Centre at the western end of Magellan Street, share one toilet, have no change rooms and members are regularly required to walk through mud to get their kayaks to the river. Not only does the mud create a dangerous entry point but it is laden with glass left over from the old glass factory that operated on the site.

I was appalled, said Lismore MP Thomas George. Its times like these that youre embarrassed to be a member of parliament and I have no hesitation in supporting the clubs efforts to receive funding for facilities. Ive booked a meeting with the Minister to discuss the issue.

The clubs application for a NSW Department of Sport and Recreation grant was knocked back last year and they are now waiting to see if they have made the cut this time around.

Mr George and Lismore mayor Merv King both inspected the clubs facilities on Saturday after a plea by club members for help.

Its pretty self evident that we need money to upgrade the facilities to an acceptable standard, said Canoe Club vice president, Marion Brownlie. Its true that we get the facilities rent free from Council, for what its worth, but otherwise the Council havent been very helpful at all. We run a popular kayak marathon which draws people from as far away as southern Queensland and Sydney and theyre all disgusted by the facilities we have. Over the year 800-odd people use our club and that number could grow or it could diminish it all depends on our facilities.

Cr King admitted that the site did need work.

There is work there that needs doing, from a safety aspect as much as anything, and Id love to see the work done, he said. Obviously it would complement the present riverbank development project and we intend to top up any state grant they can attract by around $25,000 to upgrade the surrounding site.

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