Un­cer­tain fu­ture for Mt Al­bert Aquatic Cen­tre

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - TOM CARNEGIE

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.’’

SUPPLIED

The Mt Al­bert Aquatic Cen­tre un­der­went a $3.2 mil­lion makeover in 2015.

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