New swimming pool step closer
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.