A big step taken this week towards building a new clubhouse for the Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club is being welcomed by club chairman Andrew Hitchfield.
Tauranga City Council's approval of the club's business case means the only major hurdle remaining before the club embarks on serious fund raising is the resource consent, says Andrew.
“We submitted a business case last December, we met with them last Tuesday and the feedback I had from the Tuesday meeting is it went through and they unanimously supported it going through into the Annual Plan.
“It's a big hurdle. The resource consent is in process, I think we are just about there with that.”
The resource consent is a big factor for the club in terms of seriously moving ahead in terms of getting more detailed design and time frames.
The city council's cornerstone support of $1.2 million represents about 20-25 per cent of the total cost, says Andrew.
The current total project cost estimate is $3.9 million.
“Having the confidence of the council supporting our business case allows us to go out to some of the bigger funders and seek funding from them,” says Andrew.
With the addition of $400,000 from the Tauranga Energy consumers Trust, they are about a third of the way, but the club won't start building until it has full funding.
From a club perspective it's pretty exciting, says Andrew. Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club now has 850 members up from 750 last year.
When the current clubrooms were built in 1990 the club had 90 members. In 2000 they added a big storage area to accommodate 150-200 members.
Now they have more than 800 members and a building that is basically falling down. The building has to have a warrant of fitness for its continued use by surf life savers.
“The challenge to us is we really don't want to invest too much in the current building to keep it health and safety compliant,” says Andrew.
“Every year that goes past there's a risk that there's something major that we will have to fix immediately to keep it there.”
The Council's Coastal Reserves Management Plan explicitly references the poor condition and inadequacy of present surf club facilities, as well as projecting that additional capability / facilities will be required 5-6km east of Papamoa in the foreseeable future.
The club is already patrolling at Papamoa East and maintains a flagged area over the peak periods. The club is looking at a satellite facility there in future, says Andrew.
Other background is provided in the business case report.
Tauranga's population is projected to grow from 115,000 people in 2012 to an estimated 199,000 people in 2051 according to SmartGrowth population projections.
Papamoa's population is expected to increase by 56 per cent from 20,091 in 2013 (census count) to exceed 30,000 by 2028. This compares to 28 per cent growth across the rest of the city.
Tauranga is one of the sunniest places in New Zealand. In 2013 Tauranga recorded 2,515 sunshine hours, a mean temperature of 15.8 degrees Celsius. In 2013 Tauranga was the sunniest of the six main centres and the second sunniest location in New Zealand after Whakatane.
Over time it is expected that the percentage of Asian, Maori and Pacific Peoples will increase, while European will decrease. This reflects a national trend due to differing birth rates and overseas immigrants to New Zealand. This is relevant in the context of providing enhanced surf lifesaving services in the Western Bay of Plenty, as these ethnicities are overrepresented in NZ drowning statistics.