Simpson down­plays Aquatic Cen­tre leaks

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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