June start for Wanaka sports fa­cil­i­ties

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By MAR­JORIE COOK Wanaka Swim­ming project sig­nalled for 2017 Pool

Cook Broth­ers Con­struc­tion Ltd is sched­uled to start work on Wanaka’s sports fa­cil­i­ties next week but a de­ci­sion on whether to in­clude the pool in stage one of the devel­op­ment has yet to be made.

Cook Broth­ers em­ploys about 50 peo­ple through­out the re­gion and the Wanaka project should pro­vide work for up to a dozen builders and nu­mer­ous sub­con­trac­tors over the next year.

The Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil an­nounced last Wed­nes­day it con­sid­ered three ten­ders be­fore award­ing the $13.9 mil­lion project to the Queen­stown-based com­pany.

The fa­cil­i­ties are sched­uled for com­ple­tion by June next year.

Cook Broth­ers’ busi­ness devel­op­ment manager Simon Glass said builders would move on to the Three Parks site soon and con­struc­tion should start in June.

Sub­con­trac­tors had been iden­ti­fied when the job was priced and en­gage­ment packages were be­ing fi­nalised, Glass said.

‘‘This is an iconic project for our com­pany. We are also just com­plet­ing the $12 mil­lion ter­mi­nal ex­ten­sion at Queen­stown Air­port, so we are used to projects of this size.’’

Glass said the one year time frame was achiev­able and the com­pany had shown with the air­port project that it could stick to a fast-track sched­ule.

The first jobs would in­clude site works and in­fra­struc­ture. The steel struc­ture was sched­uled to go up mid-to-late Au­gust, weather depend­ing.

Stage one in­cludes a sports hall with two full size in­door courts, chang­ing rooms, meet­ing and of­fice space, multi-sport ar­ti­fi­cial turf, carpark­ing and land­scap­ing.

The de­sign al­lows for a swim­ming pool but the tim­ing of that de­pends on the coun­cil’s 10 Year Plan.

Wanaka Com­mu­nity Board chair­woman Rachel Brown said it was ‘‘fan­tas­tic’’ the sports fa­cili- ties project was now un­der­way, af­ter many years of dis­cus­sions and site plan­ning, and she hoped ev­ery­one would em­brace it.

Brown con­ceded the build­ing was hard to visu­alise at the mo­ment be­cause the Three Parks site is still be­ing de­vel­oped.

‘‘But when you think about when they were build­ing Mt As­pir­ing Col­lege all those years ago, it seemed it was out in the mid­dle of nowhere . . . Again it seems we are build­ing in the mid­dle of nowhere but it will be amaz­ing to think what it will look like in 20 years’ time,’’ she said.

The coun­cil’s pre­ferred op­tion is to build an eight lane lap pool and a learn­ers pool cost­ing an es­ti­mated $11.8 mil­lion as part of stage one of the Wanaka Sports Fa­cil­ity, with the pools open­ing in mid-2017.

Whether this hap­pens is still up in the air. At the time of go­ing to print on Tues­day, the coun­cil had not fin­ished hear­ing sub­mis­sions on the 10 Year Plan in Wanaka. Coun­cil­lors will vote at its next meet­ing whether to bring the project for­ward from 2023.

Hun­dreds of sub­mis­sions about the Wanaka pool were re­ceived dur­ing the 10 Year Plan con­sul­ta­tion, with at least 190 for a 2017 com­ple­tion date and about 60 want­ing to de­fer the project to 2023.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, the Wanaka Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion is sub­mit­ting the pool should pro­ceed ‘‘as soon as fund­ing al­lows’’.

This is a shift in the as­so­ci­a­tion’s pre­vi­ous po­si­tion, which was to keep the ‘‘sta­tus quo’’ – a 25m six lane pool at Plan­ta­tion Road – with the ad­di­tion of a learner’s pool.

As­so­ci­a­tion chair­woman Sally Batt­son ex­pressed on­go­ing reser­va­tions about the ad­di­tional costs a new pool will put on ratepay­ers but said de­fer­ring it any longer would ‘‘cre­ate ill will and leave the project open to fur­ther cost es­ca­la­tion’’.

The ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents to a sur­vey in Novem­ber in­di­cated they could ac­cept pay­ing an ex­tra $184.00 in rates a year to help fund the pools but the coun­cil sought more guid­ance about the start date in its 10 Year Plan con­sul­ta­tion doc­u­ment.

Those want­ing com­ple­tion by 2017 say the present pool has passed its use-by-date and fear con­struc­tion costs will con­tinue to es­ca­late. Those want­ing de­fer­ral are con­cerned about cap­i­tal and op­er­at­ing costs and the im­pact of the rates in­crease. Some have sug­gested a cap on the rates in­crease.

The coun­cil has iden­ti­fied land which could be sold to help fund the pools and wants a com­mu­nity fundrais­ing cam­paign launched.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the pro­posed Wanaka Sports Fa­cil­ity.

Rachel Brown

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