Pool in doub t – again
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.