Uncertain future for Mt Albert Aquatic Centre
Sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
For the Auckland suburb of Mt Albert this could be its 20-year-old local swimming pool complex.
The Mt Albert Aquatic Centre, located on Mt Albert Grammar School grounds, was closed for three months in 2015 as part of a $3.2 million upgrade to the pool, funded by ratepayers.
However the upgrade only extended the centre’s future by five to 10 years.
Mt Albert Ward councillor Cathy Casey said she was concerned the community did not realise further investment was needed to keep the pool in the area.
‘‘The local community is aware of the ongoing problems with the Mt Albert Aquatic Centre. But I don’t think they are aware that the pool now has a finite lifespan which will end within the next 10 years,’’ Casey said.
In March Auckland Council’s environment and community committee committed to maintaining an aquatic centre in Mt Albert, but not specifically the centre at the Mt Albert Grammar School site. No funding was set aside for the commitment.
Casey said it was now absolutely vital to ensure it was budgeted for when the council’s Long Term Plan was refreshed in July next year.
‘‘The battle is now on to make sure that the people of Mt Albert are heard and that we get a firm commitment to replacing the Mt Albert Aquatic Centre,’’ Casey said.
The commitment follows a council report last year called the Central West Community Needs Assessment.
The assessment found the current pool is causing ‘‘conflict between facility traffic, and school students and capacity car parking’’.
Albert Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes said Chamberlain Park had been identified by the board as a possible new location for an aquatic centre.
Haynes said the issue was complicated further by Auckland Council moving forward with plans for a new aquatic centre in West Auckland.
‘‘Once they build one in the Whau area then council funding will likely just not be there for us to get one,’’ Haynes said.
‘‘The reality is both pools are needed to meet the increasing demand through Auckland’s rapidly growing population,’’ Haynes said.
‘‘I don't think they are aware that the pool now has a finite lifespan.’’
The Mt Albert Aquatic Centre underwent a $3.2 million makeover in 2015.