Lifesavers’ building woes

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MORNINGTON Life Saving Club is in deep water after clearing an area behind its clubhouse on Mills Beach as well as starting internal renovations without a permit.

The club removed sand that had built up behind the building over several years, disturbing an Aboriginal midden site.

It placed two shipping containers in the cleared section as a storage area for new equipment.

It also started renovating shower and toilet areas on the ground floor, which had been affected by rising damp.

The existing facilities were insufficient for a growing membership.

The clearing has triggered an investigation by the Office of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, which provides advice to the state government on Aboriginal policy and planning.

The cleared area has been fenced off by Mornington Peninsula Shire and a stop work order placed on the bathroom renovations.

The shire’s environment protection and community safety manager Claire Smith said the shire was “working with the club to resolve two issues”.

“Officers are actively working with the club to address unapproved renovation works, which occurred recently, with a view to bringing the building back into compliance with the Building Act.

“We hope this matter will be resolv­ed as soon as possible.”

She said two large shipping containers had been placed on the foreshore behind the clubhouse.

“There has been damage to some vegetation and the area was excavated by machine. There is a concern that there was disturbance caused to a potential Aboriginal cultural heritage site during the works and further investigation is underway.”

Ms Smith said no approvals had been sought from the shire to undertake either the clearing or internal renovations.

The shire had “engaged experts to advise how best to restore the site and is working closely with the relevant state government bodies. It is expected at this stage that it may take some time to resolve this issue”.

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