Students lobby to save pool
Students and staff from Taumarunui Primary School have lodged a mass protest at the closure of the town pool.
The school’s 186 staff and students marched to the Ruapehu District Council building on Friday to lodge their submissions, which were received directly by deputy Mayor Marion Gillard.
Head girl Tayla Waerea said it was important to keep the pool open to deter children from swimming at the river where they are not supervised.
‘‘Us kids need to gain our confidence in the water and if our pool shuts, then kids are going to go down to the river and it’s more likely their lives could be taken.’’
Getting to the heated pool at Taumarunui High School was an issue for most of the children who live in Matapuna and Manunui.
There is a pool at the school but it is only suitable for junior students.
Principal Bethwen Crockett said swimming was part of the school curriculum and senior students have missed out on lessons due to repairs being delayed at the town pool.
‘‘As adults we can make decisions for children but let’s listen to the child’s voice.
‘‘If our children are saying they want to swim, then let them swim, let’s have them decide what’s good for them.’’
Crockett said crowd funding could be an option and they would be keen to help raise money.
The pool was thought to have suffered damage from the North Canterbury earthquake in 2016. Repairs have been delayed until a decision is made on its future. It was closed all of last summer.
It is estimated $80,000 will be saved by not operating the pool over the coming summer.
Councillor Adie Doyle supported the idea of closing the pool and building a wet play area but Tayla said the wet play area would not teach children to swim which was more important.
‘‘You can’t stay there for long, it gets boring and it’s only water spraying on you.’’
Gillard said it was a hard decision and it all came down to how much money they could afford to spend.
‘‘Young people are important too and it’s good to be so proactive but to make the effort and present these [submissions] is appreciated.’’
A community meeting to discuss the town pool’s future will be held on October 18 at the Council Chambers, at 5.30pm.
Exchange student Niklas Meindl practises for the NZ Junior National Snowboarding Champs.
Tayla Waerea presents submissions.