A seven-year effort to develop a new community asset, sports and water safety facility has come to fruition with the opening of the new Surf Rescue Base at PƒÅpƒÅmoa in Tauranga.
Regional Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash has officially opened the new Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club building with praise for the effort of volunteers, fundraisers and donors.
“It was clear to government that this project was worth supporting when an application was made for a grant from the ‘shovel ready’ COVID Response and Recovery Fund in 2020,” Nash says.
“The PƒÅpƒÅmoa community has been working hard since 2014 to replace the old surf lifesaving base which had fallen into disrepair after more than twenty years exposure to the elements on the sand dunes.
“The strong community spirit in this part of Bay of Plenty meant most of the funds for the $5.4 million project were raised locally. But early last year the final fundraising push was thwarted by the global pandemic. The government approved a grant of $800,000 in September 2020 to make up the shortfall.
“Surf lifesaving clubs, like marae, churches, town halls and war memorials have been prioritised for regional development funding. Although the sums involved are comparatively modest, they are important for community resilience and pride.
“I pay tribute to the hundreds of volunteers and generous local businesses and supporters who made this happen. I also thank the volunteer lifeguards who play a vital role in keeping this stretch of beach safe for swimmers of all ages.
“They have helped make PƒÅpƒÅmoa an even better place to live, work and play. Construction of this facility has helped employ the equivalent of 28 full-time workers, using local suppliers and materials. It has provided much-needed support for people displaced by COVID-19, and an opportunity to come together for a common cause.
“These economic benefits – in combination with the social impact – puts this region in a better position to continue a strong recovery from the impacts of the pandemic,” Nash says.