Lake Macquarie is anticipating an influx of more than 20,000 people and an injection of up to $10 million into the City economy as it prepares to host the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships proudly supported by Your Local Club from 25 February.
Dantia, Lake Macquarie’s economic development company, has partnered with Lake Macquarie City Council and host club Swansea Belmont in a successful bid to lure the prestigious event to Blacksmiths Beach for the next two years.
Dantia Chairman, Trent Bagnall, said the company had forecast direct economic benefit to local and regional businesses of $7 to $10 million a year from the championships, with ongoing benefits from job creation, repeat visitation and exposure to new tourism and business markets.
“We are committed to supporting community events and projects that promote our City and drive economic growth in our region,” Mr Bagnall said.
“Our economic assessment predicts that the championships will generate each year up to 50 fulltime-equivalent jobs, about $2.5 million extra in local pay packets and additional local spending of more than $4 million.
“The State Surf Life Saving Championships will also raise the profile of Lake Macquarie, attracting national media coverage and showing off our City at its best.”
The championships is one of the biggest annual sporting events in Australia in terms of competitor numbers. It caters for surf athletes aged from under 9 to over 70 and is expected to attract more than 7,000 competitors, along with 600 volunteer officials and up to 15,000 family and spectators.
Competition will be conducted over three weeks, beginning with the NSW Lifesaving Championships on the opening weekend, 25-26 February, followed by the Age Championships on 2-3 March, the Masters titles on 8-9 March and the Open Championships on 10-12 March.
Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Cr Kay Fraser, said Dantia and the Council were proud to be associated with the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships.
“With 32 kilometres of coastline, four surf clubs and 2,300 volunteers who help keep our beaches safe, surf life saving is a big part of our community,” Cr Fraser said.
“We are delighted to support an organisation that promotes water safety and healthy lifestyles, and provides such valuable community service.”
Dantia has commissioned a large-scale mural by nationally acclaimed artist Brett Piva to celebrate the return of the championships to the Swansea Belmont. The club last hosted the state titles from 2008 to 2010.
The mural, to be unveiled during the championships, will play homage to the beach and local community while also acknowledging Swansea Belmont’s 90-year history of vigilance and service.