Baths feeling their age
THEY’RE doing pretty well for their age but at almost a century old the cracks are starting to show at Auckland’s Tepid Baths.
The historic building and popular swimming spot in the Viaduct is due for a major structural upgrade in the next few years, the Auckland City Council says.
The current use of the building will also be reviewed.
Council arts, culture and recreation group manager Ruth Stokes says over the past few years a number of structural issues to do with the age and construction of the building have been observed.
Deterioration of the concrete foundations, corrosion of steel roof trusses and general deterioration of heritage materials all need considerable restoration.
The 94-year-old Tepid Baths are registered as a category A heritage building.
Although the roof was replaced a few years ago the trusses were not upgraded and are severely rusted.
The concrete foundation pillars in the basement are from when the building was a tidal saltwater pool and are cracked and crumbling.
A current council plan includes $3.2 million for the redevelopment of the building but Ms Stokes says it now appears that won’t be enough to address the longterm problems.
Council staff are investigating the structural issues and looking at time and cost options, which will be presented to the committee in a report in the coming months.
But users can rest assured they won’t be forced to swim elsewhere just yet.
Committee chairman Greg Moyle says the upgrade is not urgent and probably won’t happen until after the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
“The building’s not going to fall down overnight,” he says.
“The last thing you’d want is to have the pool under construction during the world cup.”
Mr Moyle says although they may require a spruceup before the rush of visitors expected in Auckland for the rugby, the main works are still some time away.
He hopes the upgrade will be completed by the building’s centenary celebration in 2014.
But there are other options.
Mr Moyle says once upgrading costs have been worked out, a decision will be made on whether the baths remain open or if another use will be found.
However with their increasing use over the last few years, “it would be a real shame for it not to continue as a swimming pool”, he says.
Pool manager Don McLean says the baths have done “remarkably well” to stay open until now.
“Here we are in the 21st century trading with a building opened in 1914.”
Tell us what you think. Do you use the Tepid Baths? Should they be upgraded? Email a letter to edcl@snl. co.nz.
Still standing: Councillor Greg Moyle says the Tepid Baths are in line for a major redevelopment in the next few years.