This summer the Chronicle is bringing you another look at some of the best content of 2019. This story originally ran on October 03, 2019
A $100,000 grant to fix the Castlecliff surf club has been returned after Whanganui Surf Lifeguard Service and Progress Castlecliff were unable to agree the terms of the project.
About two years ago Progress Castlecliff got the money from the Four Regions Trust to repair the building.
An agreement between Progress Castlecliff and the lifeguard service proposed that the upper level of the building be transformed into a space for community use, and the lower level would be upgraded and still cater for surf lifesaving needs.
Progress Castlecliff committee member Jamie Waugh said any earnings , such as hire charges for the upper level, would go back through Progress Castlecliff to maintain the building, and to the community.
"We partnered with W&W Construction to do the work but then the numbers weren't quite adding up and we didn't quite have enough money, and in that process we discovered the foundations probably needed some work as well."
Waugh said it was around this time the lifeguard service said it was no longer interested in going ahead with the project.
A November 2018 email, sent by lifeguard base building manager Trevor Sammons, said the service had been put in a difficult position regarding the grant.
"We need funding to carry out urgent major repairs to the WSLS base building, and the grant that Progress Castlecliff secured from the Four Regions Trust, at first appeared to be a great help for that funding problem.
"Unfortunately the conditions imposed by Progress Castlecliff as detailed in the building management agreement are totally unacceptable to WSLS."
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The email said the agreement had caused division within WSLS and contravened the WSLS constitution.
"Basically the constitution states that the 'income and property of the service shall be applied solely to the promotion of the service'.
"There are also other parts of the agreement that the members of the board considered unsafe, such as, this agreement would not stand up against any reasonable measure of fairness, and there is also a general feeling that the contract is very oppressive towards WSLS."
Sammons said the service has great respect for Progress Castlecliff and hoped the two parties would be able to work together in the future.
Waugh said it was a real shame the project couldn't go ahead.
"The idea was that the whole Rangiora St section of the beach was meant to be rejuvenated by now but because we didn't get the surf club happening, there's no point."
Waugh said Progress Castlecliff was optimistic that the surf lifesaving club would be rejuvenated and thrive in the future.
"Unfortunately for various reasons this has not been possible to date, with the focus shifting to more achievable parts of the overall Castlecliff Rejuvenation Project."
Progress Castlecliff has told the Four Regions Trust the money was no longer needed.
WSLS spokesman Phil Gilmore said the club wanted to replace the building's aluminium roof, which will cost $60,000 to $80,000, but other priorities come first.
"A lot of the funding that we get goes directly into buying lifesaving equipment and the front line is a priority for us; making sure people are still alive is the most important thing.
"We don't have a huge membership so we rely on what we can get and what fundraising we can do.
"But the building and maintenance falls on the club, and we rely on the efforts of volunteers that are there with whatever skills they've got to do the maintenance when they can."
Gilmore said WSLS is now looking to get a better idea of the building's total repair costs to apply for funding.