The new Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club is a building that represents a lot for the future. Lives that will be saved, sporting careers that will be developed, and memorable events that will be hosted.
While the building may have been a long time in the making, the finish line is now in sight.
The final interior fit-out is in progress and set to be complete in May thanks to the hard work of many people, the support of generous local businesses, and significant funding from TECT.
Efforts for the new build have been ongoing since 2009, when the idea first proposed. The funding process and business cases began in 2014, and work started ramping up in 2020 with construction.
The old facility was built for a peak membership of 150 back in 1990, but with memberships now sitting at over 750, the space did not sufficiently support the surf lifesaving and rescue activities.
Papamoa Community Surf Rescue Base Trust Chairperson Jim Pearson says while the old building was fit for purpose when it was built, years sitting on a sand dune had taken its toll, and by 2010 it had deteriorated beyond repair.
“The Club was constrained in its abilities to carry out its essential activities along the coastline due to the lack of space, poor layout and deteriorating construction of the building.
“The new facility is almost triple the size of the previous building’s footprint and runs parallel to the coastline – optimising monitoring and delivery of surf lifesaving services. The fundamental foundations of the building are concrete, which is very solid in terms of exposure, so we can expect a lifespan of 50 years out of it.”
Future-proofed for tomorrow’s needs, the new base also features secure space for rescue equipment storage, education and training areas, improved communication systems, first aid facilities, and duality for broader community use.
Club President Andrew Hitchfield says while it’s fantastic to see the building in the final stages, it’s the people inside that will bring it to life.
“I can’t wait to see it in use, to see all the families inside, nippers running down to the beach – that’s when it comes to life.
“Our hardworking volunteers deserve a good home, and that’s the best part, seeing their faces when they walk in and think wow. We now have a large facility we can be proud of and can work and share with the community.”
Throughout the project, costs to rebuild the base continued to grow faster than funding was received, leading to numerous delays.
Andrew says TECT’s funding support, totalling $1 million, was significant in helping them catch up to their $5.2 million budget.
“We are so grateful for TECT’s support. The project simply would not have gotten off the ground without their backing; they have been a cornerstone funder.
“The TECT team and trustees have always been really proactive in helping us, with a desire to help over and above just handing out funds, but also pointing us in the right direction and recommending other funders. The money is fantastic, but the people have helped beyond the money – they’ve been focused on ensuring we can complete the project to a high level of integrity.
“There have also been so many local businesses that have supported the project. As it’s coming to the next stage, we encourage locals if they can help in any way – please don’t hesitate to come see us.”
TECT General Manager Wayne Werder says that with Papamoa’s rapidly growing population, the surf club’s base was in dire need of an upgrade.
“Thousands of us visit Papamoa beach every year, and the men and women looking out for our safety have been working out of subpar facilities. It’s vital that such a critical service in our community has the facilities it needs to perform its lifesaving work.
“We’re delighted to have contributed a total of $1 million towards the project, but it wouldn’t have become a reality without the incredible dedication of Andrew and Jim.”