Pleas to keep fund­ing surf life sav­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

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.

PHOTO: FAIRFAX

Young peo­ple in the wa­ter at Ti­tahi Bay beach in De­cem­ber, un­der the eye of life­guards.

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