A CENTRAL hub for Surf Life Saving NSW in Port Macquarie has stepped closer to reality.
The proposal is one of three on the Mid-North Coast that made the short list for the latest Regional Development Fund round.
Surf Lifesaving Mid-North Coast president Rod McDonagh was pleased the bid for a state operations and training centre in Central Road had cleared another hurdle.
Mr McDonagh helped draw up initial plans for the facility and was integral in lodging a development application to the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
If it gets the green light, the project would become a regional base for clubs stretching from the Camden Haven to Scotts Head and beyond.
Clubs further north and south of the region could use the facility for training, meetings and administration duties.
The grand plan is a two-storey building with storage space, administration offices, training rooms and meeting spaces.
“We’re outgrowing the space we have available, with no room to store equipment like jet skis and quick response units,” Mr McDonagh said.
Boosting the organisation’s profile and expanding membership were other benefits.
“It will give us a chance to get out in the community and do more recruitment,” the president added.
Starting the project within the next year would be ideal for the organisation.
Only early days, the exact amount of funding needed to fully complete the facility has not been finalised, Mr McDonagh said.
Other short-listed projects for round four of the fund include Northern Gateway Regional Transport Hub proposed for Taree and The Slim Dusty Centre at South Kempsey.
Round four of the fund provides Commonwealth funding of up to $15 million towards a project considered to bring economic and employment benefits to a region.
It must have the support of state and local governments and the private sector.
An earlier funding round was responsible for the upgrades of Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Taree airports.
Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott said the expression of interest stage was “hotly contested” with 159 applications valued at $3.51 billion being submitted for round four.
“To have three from our community get the nod to proceed to full application is evidence of some great ground work having already been done,” Mr Oakeshott said.