Maranui - Need for Dialogue on Where to Next

5 October 2009

The future of the fire-damaged Maranui Surf Club building - and of the other three buildings on the Lyall Bay foreshore - is to go under the spotlight in a paper to be discussed by the Wellington City Council next month.

Council staff have been asked to prepare the paper on possible options for the Council-owned Maranui building and on opportunities for improvements to facilities for the two surf clubs and other organisations based on Lyall Bay beach.

Possible options to be discussed by the Mayor and Councillors - and by the wider community - include:

  • Rebuilding the existing Maranui building
  • Exploring the opportunity to replace the existing buildings on the beach with a single, larger, building that could better accommodate both the Maranui and Lyall Bay surf clubs, other community and recreation facilities, changing rooms and possible café or other commercial premises.

Acting Wellington Mayor Ian McKinnon says it is widely agreed that the Maranui building is a much-loved south coast landmark - however an insurer's report has indicated it could cost up to $750,000 to bring the building back into use.

"The fire that severely damaged the building in August has led to a situation where there are tough choices to be made about the future of the building - but there are also opportunities to improve Lyall Bay in the long-term. 

"It would be irresponsible of the Council, when considering the Maranui building, not to look at the 'big picture' in terms of the future of all the buildings on Lyall Bay Beach."

Cr McKinnon says surf lifesaving in the 21st century has changed and clubs need more purpose-built space to store the inflatables, surf boats and other equipment used by a modern surf club.

He says Lyall Bay Surf Club is currently looking at replacing its clubrooms with a new and larger building to provide adequate space for members and equipment.

There are two other buildings on the beach - a single-storey Council-owned building formerly used by Plunket and now occupied by the Affordable Arts Trust (and sub-leased to the Maranui Surf Club) and another building that houses public toilets and a first-floor meeting room leased to the Lyall Bay Surf Club.

Council officers have been asked to provide a report that looks at all the relevant issues relating to the buildings and their uses. This report will also acknowledge the need to plan for predicted sea-level rises over the next century.

"We have to take these issues into account," says Cr McKinnon. "If predictions prove true, the lower levels of the buildings as they are now will be awash in storm surges in a few decades. We should be thinking now how to plan for this future problem."

Officers will also continue discussions with the surf clubs, Surf Life Saving New Zealand and other interested parties before the report is considered by the Mayor and Councillors.

Cr McKinnon says he is sure the drafting of the report will generate impassioned debate not only in Lyall Bay but around the city in general. "We all know that the whole community was upset by the Maranui fire - and that there has been significant interest and speculation about the building's future in the last couple of months."

He says if interest is strong enough then a public meeting will likely be held later this month so that the various plans can be discussed.