Urunga Tidal Swimming Facility Action Group mission accomplished

Garry Howe (Urunga Surf Lifesaving Club treasurer), Frank Riley, Rob Anderson (seated), Daryl Rose and Bruce Pettit at the new lido in Urunga
Garry Howe (Urunga Surf Lifesaving Club treasurer), Frank Riley, Rob Anderson (seated), Daryl Rose and Bruce Pettit at the new lido in Urunga

After many years of having their hopes rise and fall like the tides, the group that campaigned doggedly for the restoration of a sea lido in Urunga has declared mission accomplished and disbanded.

Some key members met on Wednesday to donate leftover money to the Urunga Surf Lifesaving Club.

Former president of the Urunga Tidal Swimming Facility Action Group Bruce Pettit said back in January 2011, a public meeting had raised about $730 for the cause.

Eight years later, with the lido finally built via a combination of funds provided by the NSW government, Bellingen Shire Council and Reflections Holiday Park, the action group's bank account still held a similar amount.

"We've had a couple of little expenses but our account at the finalisation of our group was $621.80," Bruce said. "We had a discussion and it was suggested that we donate it to the surf club. And we all agreed with that."

Group members declared they were well satisfied with the finished structure.

The new sea lido has a jetty boardwalk with a floating pontoon attached and another pontoon 25m away

The new sea lido has a jetty boardwalk with a floating pontoon attached and another pontoon 25m away

"And I believe it's very pleasing for the majority of the community," Bruce said. "It completes the beachfront area here and it's great for our town, great for the shire, great for our visitors. An overall win for everyone."

Bruce said the area has been Urunga's swimming site for a hundred years, and that he learned to swim by trial and error from the old diving platform whose remnants still stand in the lagoon.

After the diving platform disintegrated, the circular sea lido was constructed in the mid 1970s.

The original sea lido was an enclosed swimming area constructed in the mid 1970s. Photo courtesy of Bellingen Historical Society.

The original sea lido was an enclosed swimming area constructed in the mid 1970s. Photo courtesy of Bellingen Historical Society.

"The whole concept was magnificent and it was built by voluntary labour," Bruce said. "People from Webster and other groups around town used to knock off an hour or two early and come down here to build the lido."

That structure was demolished by the Urunga Reserve Trust in 1999 when it deteriorated due to concrete cancer.

The long hard slog to get a replacement lido meant campaigners like Arthur Anforth, Esma May and Buddy Pascoe didn't live to see the final result.

But Bruce said he's delighted that the younger generation is finally leaping off the new infrastructure.

"I get great contentment and pleasure to see families down here enjoying themselves like I did when I was a much younger person," he said.

Cheque handover from Bruce Pettit (right) to Garry Howe (left) with Rob Anderson (centre)

Cheque handover from Bruce Pettit (right) to Garry Howe (left) with Rob Anderson (centre)