Catching a break: $750,000 upgrade, new cafe for Dixon Park surf club

Upgrade, new cafe for Dixon Park surf club WELCOME FIX: Dixon Park member Lisa Wright at the club on Thursday. Picture: Marina Neil

THE PLAN: Architect QOH’s vision for the surf club upgrade is designed to improve the area’s social atmosphere.

Lisa Wright, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald and lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes with Dixon Park nippers on Thursday.

TweetFacebookA $750,000 upgrade and new cafe next door will transform Dixon Park surf club.

The state government ($350,000), Newcastle City Council ($250,000) and the surf club ($150,000) will fund new accessible toilets, updated women’s and men’s change rooms, a kitchenette and storage space.

“I’m especially looking forward to the new female change rooms and also the gym being located separately from the men’s toilets,” club member and national beach sprint champion Lisa Wright said at Thursday’s funding announcement.

“And I’m hoping that will help us attract and maintain more female members.”

Architect Tim Blackall said the upgrade had been designed to improve Dixon Park’s social atmosphere.

“The new works will utilise the eastern colonnade and adjacent lawn as club and community space and build on its popularity as a social hub,” Mr Blackall, of QOH Architects, said.

The first floor at the southern end of the building will be developed at a later stage and include a large community room and kitchen.

Meanwhile, the site of an old brick storage building beside the surf clubcar park could house a cafe by next summer, although the council has not decided whether to refurbish or demolish it.

The old storage shed at Dixon Park could be a cafe by next summer.

Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the council would soon call for expressions of interest to run the cafe, which overlooks the beach, a park, playground and dog-walking area.She said the council often fielded unsolicited interest in leasing the storage building as a cafe.

“It’s always been identified as a really good option, particularly as it’s right next to the park area,” she said.

Money from the council’s cafe leases, including at Merewether, Nobbys, Bar Beach and Newcastle ocean baths, is used to maintain Bathers Way and beaches.

The council has attracted some criticism for removing public change rooms atNobbys surf club, but Cr Nelmes said that decision was based on community consultation.

“If genuinely people want us to remove toiletsand put in a change room, we can do that, but it does mean we lose four toilets, and all the feedback was there wasn’t enough toilets,” she said.

“It’s a heritage building, so you can’t add onto it or change it too much.”

She said the next phase of the $1 million upgrade would includechange rooms for people with accessibility issues and parents with young children.