Another $52,000 wanted for trial

By Lawrence Gullery

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A plan to trial the first surf life saving service at Waipatiki Beach may not be able to raise the funds it needs to kick off next summer.

Hastings District Council's community grants committee could not approve the extra $52,000 Surf Life Saving New Zealand said it needed to set up the service at the popular beach north of Napier.

The committee met yesterday and recommended the matter go to the full council next week, when it sits to consider the funding request as part of the annual plan review.

The council had already ticked off $7000 for the trial, while Napier City Council had allocated $10,000. The committee was surprised Surf Life Saving New Zealand had returned with another request for $52,100 to set up and run the trial.

Committee member Sandra Hazelhurst said she supported the idea of a trial at the beach but was not comfortable spending another $52,100 of "Hastings ratepayer money" to set it up.

"Last time we considered this plan, we believed in it and wanted it to happen.

We thought with Napier coming in with funds, it would help kick start it and then they [Surf Life Saving New Zealand] could see where they could go to source the rest of the funding.

"They haven't shown here any other way of achieving the $52,000, they've just come back looking for that amount."

Committee member Rod Heaps said he thought the group had indicated it would have enough staff and resources to manage a trial and was also disappointed another request for funding had been made to the committee.

"It is a huge amount of money to ask from us with no explanation about how much Napier City Council might put towards it. The costs seem to keep going up."

The committee heard Surf Life Saving New Zealand was not funded by the government and achieving funding from other groups such as the New Zealand Lotteries Commission had become more difficult for similar community groups.

Committee chairman Wayne Bradshaw said the Waipatiki ratepayers' association supported the trial but he wanted to know if there was any support from the group to contribute towards the cost of running the surf life saving service.

Staff told the committee if the trial went ahead, and it was successful, it might cost $20,000 to keep it going each year. The council already paid about $50,000 towards running a surf life saving service at Waimarama and Ocean beaches during summer.

The committee agreed it would ask the council to speak with Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Napier City Council for more information on how the project might be funded and to form a long-term plan for the service at Waipatiki.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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