Ground broken for community centre

by Andy Bryenton

Winter rain did nothing to deter a dedicated group of locals attending the turning of the first sod on the site of the forthcoming Baylys Beach Community Centre and surf life saving base.

The morning of July 4 had special significance for those behind the forward-thinking local project.

Representatives of many groups such as Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, the Baylys Beach Society, Kaipara District Council, Love Kaipara and Andrewes Building and Consulting Ltd, all co-visionaries of a community centre and surf life saving hub, came together as a traditional Maori blessing was enacted and the soil turned.

Trust spokesperson Grant Suckling praised the efforts of all the community organisations and individuals involved, who have brought the project to its present state. Special thanks were offered to former mayor Graeme Ramsey, who could not attend but was cited as a driving force in the project’s leadership.

“The greatness of a community can most accurately be measured by the compassionate actions of its members,” said Mr Suckling in his address to the umbrella-sheltered crowd.

He called the rain “a washing and cleansing of the site” as he acknowledged the significance of the date; three years to the day since the passing of community centre project instigator David Saies.

When complete, the beachside centre will serve as a hub for community events and comprise a base for surf lifesavers including garaging for their emergency response craft.

Community leaders were vocal at the ceremony about the many positive benefits this will have for tourism, swimming safety and civic pride.