Posted by Ruth Woodward
Pukehina Surf Lifesaving Club members are elated that a pipedream to build a new clubhouse is to be a reality.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council has approved an extension to the Club’s leased area of Dotterel Point Reserve for a new clubhouse about twice the size of the existing premises.
The new build is being led by Project Manager Andy McDowell and Chairman of the Pukehina Surf Rescue Lifeguard Service, Kevin Barugh.
They say the current premises are outdated and the club has had to resort to additional storage in a shipping container behind the clubhouse.
“Our club has grown hugely in recent years. The population growth of the whole eastern end of the Western Bay has opened up the appeal of Pukehina Beach – and the Tauranga Eastern Link has been the key to attracting club membership from Papamoa East. Our membership is also made up of families from Rotorua and Tokoroa,’’ says Kevin.
“We are a rescue-focused club first and foremost, so a new clubhouse will be a great asset for the community and will bring us up to speed operationally as a surf rescue club. We have an exceptionally strong junior surf programme which is reflected in our increase in family membership from 49 in 2014 to 90 families in 2017.”
The number of Pukehina lifeguards has risen from 21 in 2011, to 60 in 2018, plus 15 trainee guards. There will be up to 30 trainee guards in the coming 2018/19 season.
The Club punches above its weight in performance, receiving 174 awards for the 2017/18 surf lifesaving season. Among its achievements were Rescue of the Year; Patrol Club of the Year; Volunteer of the Year; Instructor of the Year, Patrol Captain of the Year.
Kevin says the research and planning for the new facility has been intense and comprehensive.
He says the support from Council’s Reserves and Facilities Manager Peter Watson and Reserves Officer Sue Hammond had been key to the regulatory and consenting process being achieved smoothly.
“We have brought the whole community along with us – everyone is super excited and supportive of this project.’’
The local community and emergency services are 100 percent behind the project. Fundraising is underway and the club expects the cost to be approximately $2.4 million.
Design work has been done by architectural designers MnM Design in Te Puke and reflects the club’s presence as a rock and pillar of strength surrounded by waves breaking over it. The watchtower will be a feature rising above the waves.
Architectural Designer Marije Hoornstra says the building is designed to have a commanding presence – like a beacon – while giving shelter from the weather.
“The biggest challenge was to combine several different users into the one building while ensuring each has a distinct identity.’’
Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber said the Club’s reputation is admirable and is reflected in the number of awards received by club members in the 2017/18 season.
“These achievements show how well this club is performing compared to other clubs – and it is making a huge difference to the younger generation.’’
The Club is integral to the Pukehina community, working with local primary and secondary schools, clubs and tertiary providers to promote awareness of surf lifesaving.