Up­grade hits pool users

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By ABBY BROWN

Mata­mata’s $1.3 mil­lion pool up­grade is fi­nally go­ing ahead but could se­ri­ously in­con­ve­nience reg­u­lar users.

Clos­ing Mata­mata Sports Cen­tre’s pools for three months for the up­grade could cost Swim Mata­mata and coach Graeme Laing in­come and clients.

The pools July 6 for months.

Laing leases the Learn to Swim school off Swim Mata­mata. Swim Mata­mata pres­i­dent Karen Ray­mond is wor­ried the clo­sure will cost the club and Laing a lot of money.

Laing said he ap­pre­ci­ated the Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil un­der­tak­ing the up­grade but it was a shame they were up­grad­ing both pools at the same time rather than one at a time.

The up­grade will mean he will hold no Learn to Swim classes for three months. How­ever, Laing said this was the qui­etest time of year for lessons due to calv­ing.

But the Swim Mata­mata squad, which he also coaches, never had down time. He will try to hold train­ings at Opal Hot Springs.

Laing said, de­spite the fact the up­grade had been dis­cussed for years, stake­hold­ers had only been given a week’s no­tice the up­grade was hap­pen­ing. He hoped if any fur­ther up­grades were made, those af­fected would be given more no­tice. will close from around three

Ray­mond also ques­tioned why the coun­cil seemed to be in a rush to start the up­grade, which will fo­cus on ac­ces­si­bil­ity im­prove­ments to the pool, as well as up­grades to the pumps, fil­ters and bal­ance tanks, when she es­ti­mated it had taken six years of dis­cus­sion be­tween the coun­cil, the swimming club and Mata­mata Fu­tures to get to this point.

Mayor Jan Barnes said she re­alised the clo­sure will in­con­ve­nience many of the pool’s reg­u­lar cus­tomers. ‘‘Clos­ing the pools means we will be able to com­plete the work faster and at a lower cost to ratepay­ers,’’ she said. ‘‘We’re keen to get started and get the up­graded pools re­opened in time for a busy spring and sum­mer.’’

While the pools will be un­avail­able dur­ing this pe­riod it will be busi­ness as usual for Fit­zone Gym, Zone Espresso Bar and the United Mata­mata Squash Club, which are also based at the sports cen­tre.

When the pools re­open later this year, they’ll also have a new name – they’ll be known as Swim Zone Mata­mata.

Mata­mata Fu­tures chair­man Frank Healey said the group was ‘‘pleased the coun­cil is spend­ing money on the pool to im­prove things but we have been push­ing to im­prove the pool area by bring­ing in more fun things like slides’’. The coun­cil hoped to add ‘‘nice to have’’ fea­tures to the up­grade, such as heat­ing in the chang­ing rooms, if fund­ing al­lowed. Cameron Muller, 5, of the the Hin­uera Gad­gets, en­joys the rippa rugby at Bed­ford Park on Satur­day, June 27. This Satur­day ju­nior rugby con­cludes with Corinthian Day, a spe­cial com­pe­ti­tion held in a tour­na­ment style for each of the grades, in­clud­ing mini midgets, rippa rugby, 8th/9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th grade games.

Photo: ABBY BROWN

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