Rob Stevenson, chairman of the Tahunanui Business Association, is co-ordinating a proposal to build a multi-use community facility at Tahunanui Beach, close to where the current surf life saving club building currently is. Photo: Charles Anderson.

New multi-club facility backed for Tahunanui

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A number of clubs and groups are supporting the construction of a “much needed” multi-use facility next to the Tahunanui Beach sports field.

Chairman of the Tahunanui Business Association Rob Stevenson, is co-ordinating the proposal.

He says they are very much in the “preliminary stages” but the idea has been “floating around for years”.

The building would house the Nelson Surf Life Saving Club, Marist Rugby Club and various kite boarding and paddle sports clubs, plus others who all currently operate from “limited facilities”.

“And a lot of the public amenity buildings [at Tahunanui Beach] are also pretty old and the current public changing rooms have really been overwhelmed by the increased use during summer,” says Rob.

“We are only in initial early discussions and we still need to look at who’s going to step up to the plate to contribute – there are quite a few parts to the puzzle.”

President of the Nelson Surf Life Saving Club, Marcus Gardiner, says it’s the “opportune time” to build what could be the “jewel in the crown” for Tahunanui.

He says the list of clubs and groups who would use the facility is “massive”.

“There would easily be 20 organisations that would use it.”

The club has been operating from the old community police building by the Tahunanui sports field for the last five years, with its  main base being the Marine Rescue Centre on Wakefield Quay.

Their gear is stored in shipping containers and a Nelmac shed at the beach – meaning they have to work from three different locations.

“It’s nothing very glorified,” says Marcus.

The club has had concept plans drawn up by a local architect, and although they know “it’s not going to happen overnight” it gives them something to work to.

“No one would want to use it seven days a week so it does have to be multi-use. We need a long-term dedicated facility but it’s hard to go and build a facility for just one organisation,” adds Marcus. “There will be a lot of common use features – a lot of sports groups don’t need bars anymore, but just something to use when they are having events, prize givings and things like that.”

He says it would also provide a use to the surrounding community. “Tahuna doesn’t have a focal point and it would be a great thing for community groups to use, too.”

Marcus says most people are “open-minded” as to where it would go – but the beach layout is “quite limiting”.

Chairman of Nelson City Council’s sport and recreation committee, Tim Skinner, says council is “very supportive” of the idea of a shared facility that would have “maximum multiple use”.

“It has been on our agenda for a while and we’ve sat down a number of times with various clubs and worked through some ideas. There are a lot of both formal and informal groups that would use it.”

Tim believes there is a growing need for a facility and says he’d like to see it happen soon.

“I would hope it would be in the next year or two, but the priority is finishing the projects that we’ve already started and ensuring prudent use of ratepayers’ money. If we get some partnership with funding, we’d like to do what we can.”