Stu­dents lobby to save pool

Ruapehu Press - - Front Page - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

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.

PHOTO: ERIN WOOD

Ex­change stu­dent Nik­las Meindl prac­tises for the NZ Ju­nior Na­tional Snow­board­ing Champs.

Tayla Waerea presents sub­mis­sions.

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