Simpson downplays Aquatic Centre leaks
A leak at the Aquatic Centre is not unexpected or unusual, and would be easier to fix if more money had been spent during its construction, Porirua City Council chief executive Gary Simpson said.
In June it was discovered the pool is leaking 14,000 litres of warm, chlorinated water into Te Rauparaha Park every day. Water had probably been leaking for a year, a council spokeswoman said.
Work started yesterday to repair the leak, and should take three weeks. The Aquatic Centre was due to close anyway for its two-yearly maintenance.
Fixing the leak would cost $90,000 and another $600,000 would be spent on regular maintenance, Mr Simpson said.
The leaking pipe was built under the lane pool and is probably fractured.
Though the pipes were designed not to break, pools were heavy bodies of water and leaks were not uncommon because of shifting earth or wear and tear, Mr Simpson said.
‘‘I’m not saying every pool does it, but it’s not uncommon.’’
Two out of three of Kapiti’s pools leaked while Mr Simpson was deputy chief executive executive at Kapiti Coast District Council in the 2000s, he said.
There was no way to access pipes built under the Aquatic Centre except to rip up the pool floor, he said.
Mr Simpson oversaw the Aquatic Centre’s construction in the mid-1990s. Suggestions in the Kapi- Mana News in June that burying pipes was not standard business practice were untrue, he said.
‘‘ Nonsense. It’s just nonsense.’’
Pressure to keep costs down during the controversial project meant access chambers were not built under the pool, as they they were at Upper Hutt’s pool, Mr Simpson said.
‘‘ People who criticise the design of these big facilities rarely have a chance to build one,’’ he said.
‘‘ At the time the council built the Aquatic Centre and Arena, there was a reasonable opposition to money being spent on them.’’
Though 14,000 litres a day sounded like a lot of water, in the context of a 620,000-litre pool and of the council’s overall water usage, it was a relatively minor amount, Mr Simpson said.