More than 50 years of surf lifesaving history in Gisborne has been coming down since Monday afternoon as contractors demolish the Midway clubhouse.
The surf lifesaving club is to be replaced by a multi-purpose building in a multimillion-dollar project expected to take about 15 months.
“These are exciting times for our club,” Midway Surf Rescue Community Trust's Anna Roberts said.
“The creation of our new Midway Surf Rescue Community Hub will have the Dawson Building Midway Surf Life Saving Club at the very heart of it.”
“The trust and the Midway club is thrilled to finally be at demolition stage,” Mrs Roberts said.
“It's been a long time coming and a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes by the trust and many others to get the redevelopment to this point.”
The demolition work will take two to three weeks.
“The construction of the new ‘hub' will take about 15 months, depending on availability of materials and how Covid-19 behaves.”
The new building will include a state-of-the-art lifeguarding tower upstairs with 180-degree sea views.
“There will be a members' lounge, as well as new offices for coaching staff and administration to enjoy,” Mrs Roberts said.
“Upstairs there will also be a restaurant with a fun, family beach vibe, as well as a community lounge, which will be hired out to the community and will seat 150-plus people.
“Downstairs there will be facilities for community storage for like-minded water sport groups such as Gisborne Boardriders, as well as a first aid room and the remainder of the surf lifesaving club.”
“A kiosk will also be located there and will service the growing precinct and waterfront development, benefiting tourists and the Tairawhiti community.
“We are very excited to take this opportunity to create a fabulous space for all of our community and whanau to enjoy in one of Gisborne's most iconic locations,” Mrs Roberts said.
“We have an unique opportunity to create something special for Tairawhiti to enjoy for many years to come.”
The club also has plans to establish a high performance academy, bringing together aquatic sport-based community groups and individuals “to connect, collaborate and succeed”.
“The academy will offer leadership pathways, performance, inspiration, culture, trainings, workshops, seminars, speakers and high performance programmes for youth who specialise in aquatic sports. “We want our new facility to be seen as a vibrant community hub for the general public and recreational users to enjoy.
“It will be a building the community will be proud of . . . leading the Midway waterfront precinct into the future for generations.”
Club trustees have worked closely with Nga Tawhiri iwi to continue the connection between Turanganui-a-Kiwa and Te Moananui-a-Kiwa, and that connection has been encapsulated in the redevelopment.
“The building will also be in alignment with Tairawhiti's overall vision for the wider waterfront precinct and sporting hub development, including Kiwa Pools across the road.
“It is sad to see the iconic current building go. There have been so many wonderful memories made here for so many people over the decades.
“However, the building is deteriorating with structural erosion to the point where it was becoming unsafe and a hazard for members and community users,” Mrs Roberts said.
“This new facility will enable us to continue to service the community as a surf rescue base and community hub now and far into the future.”
The site blessing was postponed due to the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown.
It will happen once demolition has been completed.
The surf club will operate from temporary premises just along the beachfront over this summer.