Call to start work soon
Swimmers back 25m pool at $12.3m facility
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.