Call to start work soon

Swim­mers back 25m pool at $12.3m fa­cil­ity

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS -

Wanaka swim­mers have told project man­agers they want work to start on the new pool this year but re­main di­vided on whether it should be 50m or 25m long.

Tim­ing, de­sign and fi­nances were the three im­por­tant strands at last Tues­day night’s meet­ing to dis­cuss pool con­cept plans.

There were 13 swim­mers and seven rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil.

The swim­mers were told there is lit­tle time left to de­bate the $12.3 mil­lion project while sub­mis­sions on the coun­cil’s 10 year plan are due on April 29.

The pool is in the coun­cil’s top five ‘‘sig­nif­i­cant is­sues’’ and a rates in­crease of $184 per Wanaka ratepayer per an­num is sig­nalled.

The 10 year plan con­sul­ta­tion doc­u­ment asks if ratepay­ers want to start build­ing now, with the rates in­crease start­ing in 2017, or de­fer ev­ery­thing to 2023.

Wanaka Com­mu­nity Board chair­woman Rachel Brown said peo­ple must fo­cus on de­sign, be­cause that will help the project team fi­nalise cap­i­tal and op­er­at­ing costs and iden­tify a fundrais­ing tar­get.

‘‘It is hap­pen­ing as fast as it can. If ev­ery­one said they wanted it by 2016, we would like to start con­struc­tion by De­cem­ber so it is open late 2016-17,’’ she said.

De­sign ad­vice was dou­bly im­por­tant be­cause if the coun­cil de­cided to get go­ing, then ev­ery­one needed to swing into ac­tion quickly, Brown said.

The swim­mers agreed there should be sep­a­ra­tion of the lap pool and learn­ers’ pool but had vary­ing sug­ges­tions for the ori­en­ta­tion of the pools.

They dis­cussed a shared learn­ers’ pool that catered for small chil­dren learn­ing to swim, re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing pa­tients and adults do­ing ex­er­cise classes.

Sug­ges­tions in­cluded mov­ing the ac­cess steps, di­vid­ing the learn­ers’ pool in two and re­search­ing a move­able floor, sim­i­lar to that in­stalled in Ti­maru’s CBay com­plex.

There were calls for a spa pool to be in­cluded.

Re­tired phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teacher Jim Cowie led the charge for a 25m pool, of at least eight lanes, sup­ported by most other swim­mers.

‘‘I be­lieve if we go to 50m, we will lose out. Peo­ple will not be pre­pared to sup­port it,’’ Cowie said.

How­ever, Wanaka Swim­ming Club mem­ber Alan Humphreys ad­vo­cated a 50m pool, to pro­vide more space for train­ing, com­pe­ti­tion and other users.

‘‘The club is maxed out now at 90 mem­bers and we can only use four lanes [of the present six-lane pool],’’ he said.

Humphreys was sup­ported by GP An­drew McLeod, who sug­gested fundrais­ing should not be limited to a 25m pool as there might be peo­ple pre­pared to con­trib­ute to a longer pool.

Coun­cil recre­ation pro­grammes team leader Jendi Pater­son said a 50m pool could add an­other $4 to $5 mil­lion to the cap­i­tal bud­get.

Project manager Ant Beale said he had not had a chance to as­sess on­go­ing op­er­at­ing costs as­so­ci­ated with a 50m pool.

Ar­chi­tect Daryl McGuire said a 50m pool was ‘‘nice to have but it would be very rare for a com­mu­nity of this scale’’.

Coun­cil­lor Calum MacLeod said he un­der­stood a race win could come down to one tum­ble turn, so com­pet­i­tive swim­mers would be able to prac­tice more of them in a 25m pool.

Res­i­dent John Bar­ton said the low meet­ing at­ten­dance sug­gested Wanaka res­i­dents did not ap­pear ter­ri­bly in­ter­ested.

‘‘My in­ter­est is fi­nance and I can’t see how you are go­ing to fi­nance it,’’ Bar­ton said.

Coun­cil­lor Lyal Cocks said four Wanaka busi­ness­men were will­ing to be on a fundrais­ing com­mit­tee.

Swim­mers train in the six lane Wanaka Pool. Plan­ning is un­der­way to re­place it with a larger fa­cil­ity.

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