Pool in doub t – again

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Scott Mor­gan

AUCK­LAND City Coun­cil is again pour­ing cold wa­ter on plans for a new pub­lic swim­ming pool in Avon­dale.

The $ 15 mil­lion pool project is among $ 260m in cap­i­tal projects up for re­view be­cause of bud­get con­straints over the next 10 years.

Coun­cil­lors last looked at shelv­ing the pool in De­cem­ber dur­ing de­lib­er­a­tions over the an­nual plan.

A pub­lic out­cry saw the project re­in­stated in bud­gets for 2014 to 2016.

But it was re­viewed again, along with other pos­si­ble com­mu­nity and leisure fa­cil­ity cut­backs, by the coun­cil’s arts, cul­ture and recre­ation com­mit­tee on Wed­nes­day.

Labour coun­cil­lor Leila Boyle told the meet­ing that shelv­ing the projects would hurt lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

“ I think this Cit­i­zens & Ratepay­ers coun­cil hasn’t com­menced th­ese projects be­cause they’re un­der threat and I think the com­mu­nity has a right to know th­ese things are be­ing threat­ened,” she said.

“ It’s what they want for the fu­ture.”

Com­mit­tee chair­man Greg Moyle said it’s im­pos­si­ble to in­clude all the projects in the coun­cil’s long- term fund­ing plan.

“ I’m a bit con­flicted – they’re all laud­able projects and I wouldn’t want to cut any, but that’s not the re­al­ity.”

Mr Moyle told the meet­ing some ini­tia­tives, like pools, could be funded in part­ner­ship with other groups, such as lo­cal schools.

The offi cer’s re­port on po­ten­tial cut­backs says coun­cil would “ need to man­age po­ten­tial neg­a­tive im­pact upon the coun­cil’s rep­u­ta­tion” should the pool be canned.

Avon­dale Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Dun­can Macdon­ald wasn’t aware the plan was un­der threat again un­til con­tacted by the Cen- tral Leader. Mr Macdon­ald says the project is vi­tal for all ages.

“ I know per­son­ally how good swim­ming was for me when I was young.

“And it’s get­ting to the stage where peo­ple aged 50 plus need softer ex­er­cise like swim­ming,” he says.

“ It would re­ally com­plete the Avon­dale com­mu­nity for the fu­ture.”

Other projects that may be cut are likely to spark a com­mu­nity out­cry as well.

They in­clude new ter­rac­ing and handrails at West­ern Springs, the Royal Oak town cen­tre up­grade, Waikaraka Park ex­ten­sion and a har­bour walk­way from Blockhouse Bay to One­hunga.

If the com­mit­tee agreed to scrap all the projects that have been rec­om­mended, it would save $ 263 mil­lion over 10 years.

Coun­cil­lors will con­sider the projects in a closed work­shop be­fore a pub­lic bud­get meet­ing in Oc­to­ber.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.