New swim­ming pool step closer

The Press - - News - TINA LAW

A $19 mil­lion pool in east Christchurch is inch­ing closer, but some city coun­cil­lors are still ques­tion­ing the project’s scale.

The Christchurch City Coun­cil yes­ter­day de­cided unan­i­mously to del­e­gate community con­sul­ta­tion on the pool’s site and scope to the Lin­wood Cen­tral Heath­cote Community Board.

But some coun­cil­lors took the op­por­tu­nity to ques­tion the project.

Cr Aaron Ke­own, who has pre­vi­ously pub­licly voiced his op­po­si­tion to the coun­cil build­ing swim­ming pools with­out a clear di­rec­tion on the need and cost, said the coun­cil needed to con­sider if swim­ming was a sum­mer or win­ter sport.

‘‘Do all our fa­cil­i­ties have to be in­doors?’’

He said an out­door fa­cil­ity could be built for half the cost of an in­door one.

Cr Pauline Cot­ter said it was great to see the project kick­ing off, but wanted to know if there was any pro­vi­sion to look at po­ten­tial part­ner­ships and cost sav­ings. ‘‘The Lin­wood Wool­ston pool project be­gan as a community pool, now it’s an aquatic fa­cil­ity with a $20m bud­get.’’

She said the Edge­ware pool, be­ing re­built by the community, was go­ing to come in at un­der $5m and she asked why it was not get­ting any coun­cil fund­ing.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel ruled Cot­ter out of or­der.

Cr Sara Tem­ple­ton said she could not be­lieve the coun­cil was hav­ing this de­bate again be­cause it had al­ready de­cided to build the pool. Coun­cil­lors were only be­ing asked to ap­prove a community board-led con­sul­ta­tion.

‘‘It’s re­ally clear this community needs in­vest­ment. We need to do this and we need to do it now.’’

Cr Yani Jo­han­son said there had been a long-stand­ing de­sire and need for a pool in the area dat­ing back be­fore 2003.

He cited a Sal­va­tion Army re­port, The State of our Com­mu­ni­ties, which looked at Lin­wood, and found peo­ple be­lieved their community had been for­got­ten about.

He wanted the community board to con­sult with the pub­lic over the sum­mer pe­riod, but a date for con­sul­ta­tion has not been set.

Cr Deon Swiggs said the Lin­wood community’s top as­pi­ra­tion was to have a pool. Prin­ci­pals from eight schools in the area told the coun­cil in 2016 of the ur­gent need for the fa­cil­ity.

The coun­cil was plan­ning to build five new pools over the next few years. The Lin­wood/Wool­ston pool was ex­pected to open by 2021.

The new $37m QEII Recre­ation and Sport Cen­tre was due to open mid-2018. A $34m pool com­plex, in­cor­po­rat­ing a li­brary and ser­vice cen­tre, has been ap­proved for Hornby, and New Brighton would get a hot salt­wa­ter pool as part of plans to re­gen­er­ate the sub­urb.

The $300m metro sports fa­cil­ity, jointly funded by the Crown and the coun­cil was also planned, al­though it was de­layed and, as of last month, was in limbo after a $75m bud­get blowout saw the new Govern­ment axe a deal with the pre­ferred con­trac­tor, Leighs Cock­ram Joint Ven­ture.

Por­ta­ble swim­ming pools such as this one have at times brought re­lief in poold­e­prived Christchurch sub­urbs.

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