By Shannon Beattie
The Western Australian Rowing Club has been saved from closure after being granted almost $60,000 from the Heritage Council.
Built in 1905, the Rowing Club is the state’s oldest building directly on the Swan River.
The funds will be used to replace the deck of the building which has become unsafe for athletes.
Nick Wakeford, the club’s rowing captain, said the deck is crucial for launching boats but the years of it being submerged in the water have taken their toll.
“The deck was last replaced in the early 1990’s so it has taken almost 25 years of battering from storms and high tides,” he said.
The building was condemned in the 1960’s and 1990’s but on both occasions it was renovated by volunteers to get it back up to current building standards.
According to Life Member, Clem Williams, most of the volunteers who repaired the building last time were members of the club.
“This project will be no different, with club members planning to put in a great deal of the elbow grease needed to get this new deck completed,” he said.
The process of securing the grant was not easy with the club applying under six different categories of funding, some of which they were not even eligible for.
“The Rowing Club is the only sports building in Australia that is built entirely on water which meant that we didn’t qualify for grants from the Department of Sport and Recreation,” Mr Wakeford said.
The building was one of 30 to secure funds through the State Government’s 2014-2015 Heritage Grants Program.
The club has already started designing the new deck which will include a special section so swimmers can easily access it from the water.
Mr Wakeford expects the planning and building process to take at least six months.