Pukehina Surf Lifesaving Club has been given the green light to build a new clubhouse.
The Western Bay of Plenty District Council has approved an extension to the club's leased area of Dotterel Point Reserve for a new clubhouse, which is about twice the size of the existing premises.
Fundraising was under way and the club expected the cost to be about $2.4 million.
Project manager Andy McDowell and Pukehina Surf Rescue Lifeguard Service chairman Kevin Barugh said the current premises was outdated and the club had resorted to additional storage in a shipping container behind the clubhouse.
"Our club has grown hugely in recent years," Barugh said.
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"The population growth of the whole eastern end of the Western Bay has opened up the appeal of Pukehina Beach – and the Tauranga Eastern Link has been the key to attracting club membership from Papamoa East."
Barugh said club membership was also made up of families from Rotorua and Tokoroa.
"We are a rescue-focused club first and foremost, so a new clubhouse will be a great asset for the community and will bring us up to speed operationally as a surf rescue club," he said.
"We have an exceptionally strong junior surf programme which is reflected in our increase in family membership from 49 in 2014 to 90 families in 2017."
The number of Pukehina lifeguards had jumped from 21 in 2011 to 60 in 2018, plus 15 trainee guards. There will be up to 30 trainee guards in the coming 2018/2019 season.
The club received 174 awards for the 2017/2018 surf lifesaving season and earned Rescue of the Year, Patrol Club of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Instructor of the Year and Patrol Captain of the Year.
Barugh said the research and planning for the new facility had been intense and comprehensive.
He said the support from the council's Reserves and Facilities manager Peter Watson and Reserves officer Sue Hammond had been key to the regulatory and consenting process being achieved smoothly.
"We have brought the whole community along with us – everyone is super excited and supportive of this project," he said.
Te Puke architectural designer from MnM Design, Marije Hoornstra, said the building will be designed to have a commanding presence – like a beacon – while giving shelter from the weather.
"The biggest challenge was to combine several different users into the one building while ensuring each has a distinct identity," she said.
Western Bay mayor Garry Webber said the club's reputation was admirable and was reflected in the number of awards received by club members in the 2017/2018 season.
"These achievements show how well this club is performing compared to other clubs – and it is making a huge difference to the younger generation.," he said.
The club was integral to the Pukehina community, working with local primary and secondary schools, clubs and tertiary providers to promote awareness of surf lifesaving.