Pleas to keep funding surf life saving
Cutting funding for weekday patrols on Titahi Bay beach hasn’t gone down well with some submitters to Porirua City Council’s draft annual plan.
Along with the living wage discussion, the proposal by the council to remove the $22,000 from its budget paid to Surf Life Saving New Zealand for weekday summer patrols at Titahi Bay garnered the most comment.
Charlie Cordwell, the regional manager central for Surf Life Saving New Zealand, and Nick Mulcahy, Titahi Bay Surf Life Saving Club patrol captain, both made presentations during annual plan hearings on May 18.
‘‘Weekday life guarding on Titahi Bay beach is mutually beneficial to the council and to residents,’’ Cordwell said.
‘‘The safety aspect, the health and wellbeing spinoffs for citizens who use the water – this [$22,000] is absolutely value for money.’’
Cordwell said he understood the council was looking to save money, but this funding cut was not being made by other councils in the region.
‘‘It will make things tough for us, because every dollar counts in these times.’’
Mulcahy said along with lifeguards enhancing the recreational value of the beach for residents and visitors, past incidents indicate there is a considerable risk of drowning there.
Between 2005 and 2015, 42 rescues were carried out and 86 members of the public were given first aid at Titahi Bay.
‘‘Having lifeguards present allows us to talk to people about being resilient in the water, educating them on what is a hazardous environment.
‘‘The beach is a community asset, but one that needs to be monitored, like having lifeguards at a public pool.’’
The submission from the Citizens Advice Bureau Porirua said that cuts in the council budget will undermine Porirua’s desire to be a thriving and safe city.
‘‘We regard [cutting the weekday life saving funding] as a false economy which would have negative impacts on the wellbeing of our children and community,’’ Iain MacLean, chairman of the Pukerua Bay Residents Association, said.
‘‘We have reservations about stopping the lifesaving service, and would not want that to increase the risk of anyone drowning at the beach,’’ he said.
Young people in the water at Titahi Bay beach in December, under the eye of lifeguards.