Splashing out on a swimming complex
St Peter’s College has proposed the city council help it build a $29 million to $32m swimming pool complex on its property.
Principal David Olivier and board of trustees chairman Robert Coulson put the preliminary plan to the council’s sport and recreation committee last Wednesday.
Mayor Grant Smith said it was great to see the college ‘‘shooting for the stars’’.
‘‘But I took a huge swallow when I saw the price.’’
The proposal arose partly in response to recent approaches to the council about lack of access to pool space for club and casual swimmers, and for sports such as canoe polo.
‘‘Currently, Palmerston North’s pools are overflowing,’’ Olivier said.
He said the proposal was for a 50-metre pool, which would be 25m or 10 lanes wide.
It would have a movable floor to accommodate pool depths ranging from 0.9m to 3m so it could be used for water polo, canoe polo and underwater hockey, as well as swimming.
There would be seating for at least 1200 spectators, creating greater capacity to host national events.
Those events would bring economic benefits to the region, estimated at about $2m a year.
Olivier said the land was owned by the Catholic Diocese, and the church was committed to making the site available.
Coulson said the school and council were unlikely to be able to afford the building without regional or national support.
Dannevirke swim coach Lin Tozer, one of those who has talked about the need for more pool space, said after the meeting that the council should spread its investment.
‘‘If there is that much money available to spend, they should be looking to create more capacity for learn-to-swim, rather than catering for an elite sport.’’
Cr Lew Findlay said the proposed new facility could become the premier water sports venue, with the advantage of freeing up space at other city pools.
Cr Duncan McCann said he supported ‘‘the lofty ambition’’.
However, spending on that scale would have to be put off until after the city had invested in improvements to its wastewater treatment.
The solution to Palmerston North’s overflowing swimming pools could be a new world-class facility proposed by St Peter’s College.