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$5m for Midway from the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund

Club ‘thrilled’ at news of funding for hub.

Funding has come through for a $5 million Midway Surf Lifesaving Rescue Community Hub, which could be open for the 2021-2022 summer.

The money is coming from the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Midway Surf Lifesaving Rescue community hub communications manager Anna Roberts said everyone in the club was “thrilled and excited about the announcement”.

They learned of the funding yesterday.

“We formed a building sub-committee two years ago to begin the process, and we have been working hard on it ever since,” she said.

“The aim is to future-proof lifeguarding operations from Midway to the Waipaoa River.”

The current clubhouse would be demolished and replaced with a fit-for-purpose, future-proof lifeguarding facility.

“It will also provide for a coastal aquatic community academy to create pathways for our youth.”

Mrs Roberts said work on the project would begin in late October, with demolition of the current clubhouse.

Construction of the new building will take more than 12 months.

“We will operate our patrols as usual over summer out of a number of portable buildings.

“It's planned to have the new building finished by 2022.”

It will contain a restaurant, lounge area for club members, gear storage, a kiosk, and other community facilities.

In a presentation to Gisborne District Council last month, Midway Surf Rescue Community Trust member Matthew Pickering said the project would provide “sustainable lifeguarding excellence from Midway to the Waipaoa River”, foster a safe environment for families to learn, excel and have fun, and upgrade Gisborne's waterfront precinct.

Mr Pickering said the trust had sought funding from Crown Infrastructure Partners, but been redirected to the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

He told the council the current 56-year-old facility was tired and no longer fit-for-purpose.

The new hub would include a lifeguarding tower with 190-degree vision and modern communications technology.

Mr Pickering said that would allow police, for example, to contact the club about a 111 emergency at the Waipaoa River mouth.

The improved club facilities would develop “fitter, faster and better skilled lifeguards”.

The digitally functioning hub could generate rental and hire income to fund lifeguard services.

Most club funding came from grants, which was becoming harder to source.

The facilities would be shared with like-minded coastal aquatic groups such as Gisborne Boardriders while community and commercial groups could hire facilities for activities including cultural offerings, seminars and workshops.

The club was aiming for an “attractive and integral venue, which fits into the evolving iconic pathway” from Titirangi Reserve to the Waipaoa River.

The architect would work with the architect of any redevelopment of the Olympic Pool to develop “a linked go-to recreation destination appropriately themed and landscaped to share the iwi story”.

Mr Pickering told the council discussions had initially been held with club members and went on to include iwi, council, Gisborne Holdings Ltd, Trust Tairawhiti, Sport Gisborne-Tairawhiti, St John, coastal community groups, other surf lifesaving clubs that have recently built new clubrooms and MP Kiri Allan.

TIRED: The 56-year-old Midway Surf Life Saving Club will be demolished in October to make way for a new multi-purpose community lifesaving hub. File picture

Leave a Reply to Amber Dunn Cancel reply

  1. Amber Dunn says:

    What absolutely fabulous news! Congratulations to the Midway surf lifesaving team (Anna, Matt etc) for creating such a brilliant, inclusive concept and being successful in getting the funding.
    Our beaches are a significant natural asset to our region. Ensuring the safety of our people as they are enjoyed is paramount.