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Does Gisborne need a new pool?

21 Apr 2009

Does Gisborne need a new pool?

Redevelopment of the Olympic Pool complex and the establishment of a multi-purpose aquatic & recreation centre are major projects that  council is considering as part of its Draft Ten Year Plan.

A design concept has been developed by local architects Nicoll Blackburne in conjunction with Ashley Cox architects in Wellington. The projects are currently planned for 2014 and 2018 respectively and are included in the Draft Ten Year Plan. Council is keen to hear from the community about whether they should continue to progress these projects

The Olympic Pool complex is now 35 years old. Over time, various alterations and additions have been made to accommodate changing trends. According to the pool manager Hendrik Geyer the time has come to ask whether the pool will still be around for our children and grandchildren.

"The complex has experienced record visitor numbers this summer with the pools and activities popular with both locals and visitors to the region. But the pool faces a number of major issues. It is old, inefficient and increasingly difficult and costly to maintain. Independent reports have estimated the life expectancy to be as low as 5 years from now. The complex lacks important facilities that could increase visitor numbers and revenue, in particular over the winter months.

"While community facilities like pools, libraries, parks and playgrounds do not generate a profit, we could not enjoy a vibrant, prosperous and healthy Tairawhiti without them. The non-monetary benefits in areas like health, well-being and quality of life are considerable.

"It is a reality that, if Gisborne wants to enjoy a pool complex in 20 years time, significant investment will be required. The option of 'doing nothing' will lead us to closure of the pool within the next 10 years. If the community does not want to accept that, then the issue is whether to carry on with the existing facility and its limitations, or future-proof the complex. This can be done by making it more efficient and maximising how and when it can be used. Council is proposing to do the latter" said My Geyer.

"Estimates for the capital cost of stage one (Aquatic Centre) are $24m, with another $38m for stage two (Multi-purpose Indoor Stadium). This is clearly beyond what our community can afford on its own and Council intends to secure grant funding of 75% for stage one and 90% for stage two.

The inclusion of the project in the Ten Year Plan will give Council a mandate to continue feasibility studies and design options, while preparing a business case and negotiating with potential funders. The Eastland Community Trust has already indicated that it is interested in the project, as part of its commitment to transformational community investment. Submissions to the Draft Ten Year Plan can be made online , by filling in the submission form at the back of the brochure sent to all households in the district, or by contacting customer services. Check our meetings schedule to attend a meeting near you. Submissions close at 4pm Friday 1 May.  

Future look of complex Proposed new look for pool complex