Matiatia pool plan floated
Auckland pool director John Fay says a swimming pool on the shore at Matiatia would be the best option for Waiheke.
The outdoor pool could use sea water and be heated with thermal mineral water, which was detected at Matiatia many years ago, Fay said.
He envisages a public pool tucked into the hillside at the western end of the beach, below the headland used for Sculpture on the Gulf.
Fay has owned a holiday home at Palm Beach for 20 years and been involved in different groups trying to develop a community pool on the island over the years.
‘‘I know my business and my business is pools and I know Waiheke. Looking at all the other sites on Waiheke, there’s nothing that really works. The one place Waiheke could develop a wonderful pool is Matiatia, because that’s where the people are,’’ Fay said.
He is not seriously proposing developing the pool himself, but wants to put forward the idea of a pool on Matiatia beach.
Currently the director of Newmarket’s Olympic Pool, Fay has been involved with managing public pools since the 1980s and is the younger brother of businessman Sir Michael Fay.
While many Auckland Council pools lose money, a pool at Matiatia could be commercially viable because it would be easily accessible for locals and visitors from Auckland, he said.
Salt water requires less chlorine treatment and has advantages on Waiheke, where water would otherwise need to come from limited aquifer supplies or rainwater collection.
A spa, sauna and gym would help make the pool more financially viable and a soft plastic cover could be used to cover it in winter, he said.
A shortage of car parking at Matiatia is a potential drawback of the idea, but Fay said more parking could be developed on council-owned land away from the historic urupa (Maori burial ground) on the foreshore at Matiatia.
He sees potential problems with Waiheke Pool Society’s plans for a $5.5 million indoor pool at Onetangi Sports Park, because it is too far from pool users.
Waiheke Local Board is also investigating developing two heated outdoor pools on Ministry of Education land between Waiheke High and Te Huruhi Primary School.