02 May 2018
A Tauranga landmark will come tumbling down over the next few days, as the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service building project enters its next phase.
The current building, which has stood on the Main Beach site since 1979, will be levelled as a digger joins demolition crews from tomorrow.
Those demolition crews have spent the last month securing the site and removing asbestos, ahead of the $3 million rebuild of the club, with club chairman Paul Manning excited about the progress.
“Much of the work so far has been behind the scenes but the public will really start to see some big changes from here,” Manning said. “Locals and visitors alike will be able to see a world-class lifeguarding and response service facility taking shape, that will help us better protect people on the beaches and surrounding coastline.”
The asbestos removal has put the project slightly behind, although Manning was confident the project would still meet final deadlines at the end of the year.
“It’s a common occurrence in buildings of that era but it was removed by a licensed and experienced operator, with WorkSafe helping oversee it. This is just one of the challenges that comes from a project like this but the contractors have kept us in the loop all the way through and we’re still hopeful of resuming core lifeguarding duties from the club by December.”
The club will have vital lifeguarding equipment on standby throughout winter, stored at the neighbouring Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park, with voluntary weekend patrols resuming again at Labour Weekend.
The focus for the club until then is raising the additional $800,000 needed to complete and refit the new building, with Manning hopeful of a strong response from the wider Bay of Plenty community.
“A number of funding partners have helped to get us most of the way there, allowing us to start and minimise disruption to our next patrolling season, but we’d love to talk to any businesses or community members keen to help us secure the remaining funds. We’ve built up some incredible goodwill over the 90 years our members have been patrolling Mount Maunganui beaches and we’d love to invest some of that goodwill in ensuring we can keep providing a world-class service to the public.”
Mount Maunganui is one of the busiest beaches for surf lifesaving patrols in the country, with big swells throughout February and March producing a number of rescues and hundreds of preventative actions.