Surf club calls for tower cash

By Kaysha Brownlie

REBUILD: An artist's impression of Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club's new watch tower. Construction starts in a few weeks. IMAGE/SUPPLIED.
REBUILD: An artist's impression of Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club's new watch tower. Construction starts in a few weeks. IMAGE/SUPPLIED.

Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club is putting a call out to the public to help them find the last lot of money needed to fund their "eyes and ears".

Plans have been in the pipeline for two years, but D-day is fast approaching with construction set to start on a new watch tower in just weeks.

In total $350,000 is needed for the project, of which nearly $200,000 has been raised so far.

The club's director of property James Laver said: "It is the eyes and ears of our club with views to the north and south of beach."

The cost of the tower had come as a surprise to the club but the location and need for it to suit modern technology was what had driven it up.

After 45 years of service the Waimarama surf life saving club's previous tower was demolished last September when Hastings District Council requested it as part of their redevelopment of Waimarama Domain.

Mr Laver said demolition was needed in order for the council to address erosion issues.

The new tower will be built about 25m away from the previous one, and will have the latest mod cons, complete with tinted windows to stop glare so swimmers can always be spotted in the surf.

With such a long beach it is essential to have a tower, life guards keeping watch over the beach communicate by radio to those on the ground, club chairman Kim Nilsson said.

Last summer lifeguards made do with a portable tower and were looking forward to their new permanent building.

Nationally renowned Hawke's Bay architects Paris Magdalinos have developed the new design.

The chairman said while there was a focus on functionality and durability in an extreme environment the new rescue tower would be architecturally interesting.

It will be a hub for the lifeguards as well as community with added safety features, including a "stinger" tsunami warning system.

Mr Nilsson said it was important to grow with the sea and the new tower would be relocatable to suit the changing terrain. Mr Laver said the beach was a difficult one and an average of 1000 people could be expected on the beach every day in the summer.

It is hoped the tower will be open by Labour weekend, in time for scores to start returning to the surf as the weather begins to warm up again. The old rescue tower was constructed in 1973 for the National Surf Championships.

Public can donate money for the watch tower here use/waimaramarescuetower.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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