A grant of nearly $250,000 is being sought from Tauranga City Council to meet start-up costs to build a new surf rescue base at Papamoa Domain.

The application has been made by a trust set up to build, own and operate the base in which the Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club would be the primary tenant.

Papamoa Community Surf Rescue Base Trust chairman Jim Pearson said the base was an urgent priority because of the growth in the club which had gone from about 100 members when it started in 1990 to more than 750 members now and was projected to reach 1000 members in five years.

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Mr Pearson also signalled that the trust would approach the council later to become a cornerstone funder for the $3.8million construction phase of the project.

The goal was a 25 per cent council contribution totalling $950,000.

"We have been working on this for over five years," Mr Pearson told councillors at yesterday's meeting to hear submissions on the council's 2016-17 annual plan.

The trust's immediate goal to secure $249,750 would meet the costs of getting a resource consent and finalising the design, lease and procurement documents needed to move the project forward to construction.

"The council's support was essential to make it happen. We would struggle to raise sufficient funds without a council contribution," Mr Pearson said.

He said the clubhouse was built for a peak membership of 150. It lacked space, was not functional, had a poor layout and did not adequately support surf lifesaving and rescue activities.

"These shortcomings all result in the club being constrained in its abilities to carry out essential activities along the coast."

Surf club chairman Andrew Hitchfield said the club had saved at least 100 lives in the past three years and carried out more than 7000 preventative actions for people who looked like they were getting into trouble.

He said the club had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars just to keep operating and agreed with Councillor Catherine Stewart that they were like many other clubs in Tauranga who struggled to raise the money to cover operating costs.

"We are at the tipping point, we can't do it ourselves," he said in support of the trust's application.

Councillor Leanne Brown said the clubrooms were in a terrible state.

Mr Pearson said a council commitment to the project would allow the trust to approach other funding entities for grants. The council will decide on the application next month.