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Friday, 22 May 2020

'Be prepared’ is the motto Scouts live by. And the 1st Elanora Heights Scouts Group is more than prepared to move back into their newly refurbished scout hall in North Narrabeen.

The $400,000 renovation of the Bilarong Community Centre near the Narrabeen Lagoon, home of the 1st Elanora Heights Scouts Group, was recently completed. However, just as it was ready to re-occupy, along came COVID 19 and the scouts have had to cool their heels while social distancing measures are still in place.

The Scouts including Cubs and Venturers have been the main users of the hall for the past 20 years and have been unable to use the building since mid-2018, after it became clear the building needed to be extensively renovated because of termite damage.

Initially, the building was stripped back and structural investigations were undertaken in conjunction with consulting engineers. Council replaced the termite ridden walls with metal frames and non-timber external cladding and internal linings.

Because the Scouts play ball games in the main hall, the rafters have been left exposed with lights and fans recessed so they won’t be broken. The roof sheeting, insulation and skylights have been replaced to improve natural light and control heat, resulting in the hall having a spacious feel with windows, doors and a verandah all overlooking the lake.

The internal configuration of the building was left largely unchanged with the hall being the feature, though one of the rooms has been repurposed as a community meeting room with a new kitchenette.

Toby Atkinson, 1st Elanora Heights Scouts Group Leader, said he was particularly pleased about the upgraded storage facilities and the ability to access storage away from the front entrance, which enables the scouts to still use the building while community events are underway in the hall at the front of the building.

“We are extremely keen to get back into the scout hall and can’t wait for this whole COVID 19 thing to be over. We believe it’s the best scout hall on the Northern Beaches.”

The building’s rejuvenation is part of Council’s Building Asset Management Plan which aims to renew buildings in poor condition, whilst maximising their usage by community groups if possible.

Once reopened, the building will be available to the community to hire while still meeting the requirements of the scouts group.

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