Wanaka pool must stay open

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS -

Ihad a per­fectly good piece drafted this week but a much big­ger lo­cal is­sue landed flat in our laps – the Wanaka swim­ming pool be­ing shut down with no warn­ing ex­cept a hasty press re­lease.

What the hell is go­ing on? It has been per­fectly fine for the past 30 years and now at the stroke of the pen and the ap­par­ent lack of earthquake re­silience (20 per cent of the Christchurch-fo­cused earthquake stan­dard) it is deemed no longer safe. Well, it was per­fectly safe up to last Fri­day lunchtime!

Wanaka has had many jolts over the years and that build­ing hasn’t moved an inch. I be­lieve what we have go­ing on is a knee-jerk re­ac­tion, a com­bi­na­tion of the earthquake risk as­sump­tion and the as­sump­tion that en­gi­neer Tony Ma­jor, re­cently booted from the In­sti­tu­tion of Pro­fes­sional En­gi­neers and in­volved in the ini­tial de­sign, makes our pool flagged as at-risk and deemed un­fit for use.

It’s bu­reau­cratic lu­nacy. Can some­one at the top in QLDC get a grip, take a big shot of com­mon sense and un­der­stand the mas­sive reper­cus­sions this de­ci­sion means not just to the swim teach­ers, coaches and em­ploy­ees but to the whole com­mu­nity this side of the Crown Range.

That tiny, un­der equipped and largely ba­sic pool hosts not only our whole com­mu­ni­ties learn-to-swim pro­gramme, but also a HUGE wealth of talent, both emerg­ing and es­tab­lished. Swim­mers at na­tional and in­ter­na­tional level come out of that pool at a level way out of pro­por­tion to its size. It hosts in­ter­na­tional ath­lete train­ing pro­grammes which bring teams of people with them.

This bomb­shell has to be dealt to with ab­so­lute ur­gency. Al­ready, a plethora of short-term plans by com­mu­nity mem­bers have been mulled over, such as re­mov­ing the roof and plac­ing a blow up dome over the top - but any­thing is prefer­able to hav­ing it shut. This pool was orig­i­nally cre­ated by the com­mu­nity when the coun­cil wouldn’t. I am­sure the so­lu­tion for this will also come from within.

Plunge-ready: Sib­lings Eva, 15, and Tom Good­is­son, get their feet wet in Lake Wanaka as they pre­pare to take the plunge as part of the lat­est so­cial me­dia craze dubbed the Ice Chal­lenge. The pair were vis­it­ing their grand­dad Low­ell Croft, of Wanaka, when they were nom­i­nated to take part in the chal­lenge. The chal­lenge in­volved people sub­merg­ing or hav­ing buck­ets of cold wa­ter poured over them to raise funds and aware­ness for cancer. Lake Wanaka has been the stage of many people tak­ing part, in­clud­ing a group who cov­ered the wharf with snow and skied off it.

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