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Surf club gets lifesaving renovations


surfWhile the Mangawhai Surf Club has long been a hang-out for sun lovers and beach bunnies, it has always been an essential part of the Mangawhai community. It’s summer activity has a long history with the youth of Mangawhai and nationally through surfing and life-saving activity and competition.

With summer crowd numbers increasing, the clubrooms are now in-adequate for the amount of activity there and are currently undergoing their first refurbishment since 1969. The upgrade is neccessary to keep up with the growth of the club, the constant use of the facility and also pro-vide a place for community meetings and the like in a unique setting.

Local builder Peter Oakden of Oakland Builders won the open tender for the job which will, when completed, extend the current building by almost one third and also lead to a streamlin-ing of the services on of-fer. Though quite differ-ent from a house build, Peter is nonetheless enthusiastic about the job and his company’s contribution to an essential service.

“We generally have four men on the job,” says Peter.

Peter has been build-ing in Mangawhai for over 27 years, covering all areas of construction from new homes to additions and alterations, and enjoys tailoring the build to meet each individual needs. He has completed other local community projects in the past including the Domain extensions and several projects at Mangawhai Beach School.

There is quite a bit involved with preparation for the new showers

and ablution area done in conjunction with Scotty of Mangawhai Plumb-ing, and the bunkrooms will still sleep forty but will be refurbished to a higher standard.

Downstairs, together with the new ablution facilities and sleeping quarters will be purpose-built boat storage for new and more modern craft plus a separate fuel store which will be an added safety factor. Upstairs, the deck will be extended to include a larger com-mittee room suited to training instruction and gear education.

Club president Mike Ferguson is keeping an eye on progress. Mike is a third generation lifesav-er who started with the junior programme so is well aware of the impor-tance of good facilities to allow his crew to perform to their best whatever the situation.

“We have been planning a major renovation for some time and now,” says Mike. “Members have worked hard fundraising and are pleased to see their labours coming to fruition. Not only have we seen positive growth in active lifeguard numbers to where we now have five patrols, but we have a junior surf programme with over ninety children at it’s peak in summer. Combined with this the club facilities are used for beach education and we have had over eight hundred kids through the club in the last season learning general beach education, service and rescue skills so it has been a well used facility.”

The total cost of $300,000 has been met by a community grant of $200,000 with $100,000 being raised by club initiatives.

Design work has been done in collaboration

with local resident and architect David Wingate, principal of Wingate & Farquhar, who took into account not only the need to upgrade facilities, but also to enhance the connection between the building aesthet-ics and the surrounding landscape with its beach-side context.

“We all operate better with better facilities and we are just guardians for the next generation,” adds Mike Ferguson. “Education in prevention is just as important as rescues.”

But Mangawhai has produced some capable and dedicated lifesavers as evidenced by national competition results will show.

Looking into the near future it is intended to upgrade the kitchen area and add a lookout tower but that is subject to further fundraising.

Says Peter Oakden: “We are on target to complete by the end of September in time for the new season. The final plans show a smart new modern building which should see the club pros-per further and one of which the whole community can be proud and enjoy.”


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