Viewpoint – Surf support needed

As the end of the year approaches, I hope you are beginning to look forward to summer and the Christmas break.

Recently I announced that final negotiations had been completed and a contract awarded for the construction of the Puhoi to Warkworth section of the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance. This is a significant announcement and now clears the way for construction to begin.

Last week I was invited by the Hibiscus Coast branch of Forest and Bird to speak at the opening of Forest and Bird’s North Island conference at Shakespear Regional Park. I spoke about the Government’s ambitious Predator Free 2050 programme. This is a programme that will require a coordinated effort between government agencies, local government, the private sector, NGOs and most importantly community groups. The target species are rats, possums and stoats. I am proud of the fact that our own Hibiscus Coast branch of Forest and Bird has already begun a pest eradication programme focused on the Whangaparaoa peninsula.

As summer quickly approaches I would like to acknowledge our two local surf lifesaving clubs – Orewa and Red Beach. Between them they provide lifeguard services to four of our most heavily used beaches, Nipper and Junior surf programmes which are the biggest in the country as well as outstanding competition results at regional and national level. Both clubs provide a hub where our community can gather and socialise.

With the area growing so quickly, both our surf lifesaving clubs face challenges with capacity and space. Red Beach recently completed a programme of building additions and Orewa has just completed the required consenting process to build a new club. The present Orewa clubhouse is not fit for purpose and cannot meet the needs of a quickly growing community.

I would ask that we get behind our Surf Lifesaving Clubs whether it be through qualifying to patrol, becoming a social member or donating or helping with fundraising for a new club. The people who run our Surf Clubs are volunteers and nothing energises them more than knowing the community they serve is behind them. On that note, please remember to stay safe in the water, drive carefully and enjoy a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.