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Australia'We're just gobsmacked': Freak weather destroys life saving club

16:10  10 may  2019
16:10  10 may  2019 Source:   theage.com.au

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Extreme weather has destroyed a Gippsland life saving club , years after politicians were first warned it was vulnerable and just days before the end of Facilities half submerged in slush and hail. " We ' re just gobsmacked ," Mr Scott said. "We talk about taking the nippers away for a trip to the snow – well

If we look back at its history, we will see that there were several foreign communities living in Moscow on Other desert plants simply stop growing in very dry weather . They appear to be dead, but The plots are well written, and sometimes you feel like you’ re twisting your brain into a knot, trying to figure

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Extreme weather has destroyed a Gippsland life-saving club, years after politicians were first warned it was vulnerable and just days before the end of repairs paid for by tireless community fundraising.

Heavy rain, winds, hail and tides lashed the the Wonthaggi Life Saving Club at Cape Paterson on Friday, gouging away land surrounding the club and flooding it as well as nearby community facilities.

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We are also opening the bar on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 3pm and the bistro from 5:30pm + our regular Sunday lunch from 11:30 am -2 The SWR surf club has the best seats in town to enjoy the beautiful weather today, come down for a drink from 3pm and a meal from 5:30pm to enjoy

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Fearing the next high tide could finish the club off entirely, members were on Friday afternoon desperately trying to salvage valuable equipment and memorabilia from inside.

'We're just gobsmacked': Freak weather destroys life saving club © Supplied Wild weather has destroyed the Wonthaggi Life Saving Club at Cape Paterson No official rain measurements exist at Wonthaggi, but the Bureau of Meteorology had received several reports that more than 100 millimetres had fallen during Friday's wild weather.

Club president Mark Scott spoke to The Age on Friday evening from a neighbouring park blanketed in thick hail.

"We're just gobsmacked," Mr Scott said. "We talk about taking the nippers away for a trip to the snow – well, it's here. The photos don't do it justice."

He said the club had been identified as needing urgent repairs and flood mitigation work at least five years ago, but had been continually put off by "nodding and agreeing" politicians.

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DWLSC is a voluntary life saving organisation. Off to the hospital later just to get things checked out. Now some serious rehab before Italy. Any members/friends of the club available to help with the demo tomorrow, we need some people to be casualties in the water and money collectors.

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The community took matters into its own hands and raised $200,000 through fundraisers and grants. Mr Scott said the resulting work was just days from being finished.

"The members – the hundreds of sausage sizzles to get this current work done – they're just gutted," he said. "You've got members leaving here just drained and upset.

"Someone just said 'what about insurance?' Well, I don't even know what that's going to cover. This is a community group. We're lifesavers.

"The builder is here now he's just shaking his head ... But you know what? We didn't lose any lives. And the community has just been fantastic. That's what it's all about. The spirit of the Cape Paterson community is alive and well."

The club's special project manager Alan Evers-Buckland, who is also a national director for the Royal Life Saving Society, said the club had needed $1 million dollars in maintenance work just to get it up to suitable occupational health and safety standards.

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In 2003, freak weather destroyed a warehouse in Kentucky holding bourbon. In 2003, the Jim Beam warehouse was struck by a bolt of lightning which released 800,000 gallons of bourbon. Moments later a small tornado approaches the sand and sucks up the flaming spirit moving it around the lake.

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'We're just gobsmacked': Freak weather destroys life saving club © Supplied Wild weather has destroyed the Wonthaggi Life Saving Club at Cape Paterson

"Basically, Wonthaggi, for political reasons, it's the last club to be done," Mr Evers-Buckland said.

"In the next funding it's not even mentioned, even though it needs work the most.

Mr Scott said the current Victorian government had been told repeatedly that even normal amounts of rain flooded the facilities, let alone freak downpours like that on Friday morning.

'We're just gobsmacked': Freak weather destroys life saving club © Supplied Facilities half submerged in slush and hail

"We've been warning that this park will get washed away and here we are," he said.

"They just can't keep ignoring the community. We've had all the pollies down nodding and agreeing but this is going to take real money.

"We're just looking at all the equipment – what the community use – and we don't even know where to start."

The Andrews Government has spent more than $28 million on 13 clubhouses across the state.  Last financial year, the Wonthaggi club received $110,000 of that amount.

A spokeswoman said the government would work with Life Saving Victoria and the council to support the community following the storms.

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'We're just gobsmacked': Freak weather destroys life saving club © Supplied It's not snow, it's hail. The Liberal opposition had promised it would provide $2 million if it won last year's election for what it called "long overdue" refurbishments for the club and for Bass Coast Shire’s planned Cape Paterson Bay Beach Master Plan.

Mr Evers-Buckland said no one was allowed back inside the club in the next 48 hours – "and that's if it hasn't already all fallen in."

"It's really important to Wonthaggi," he said. "It's where the swimming pool is that was made by the miners. It's also where the locals swim because it's protected. It's a very important facility to the community."

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