Committee Makes Recommendation for Pool

The Amberley Ward Committee has confirmed its preferred option for redevelopment of the Amberley Swimming Pool.  At its meeting on Tuesday 17 October, it was established that the preference is for a new pool to be built, including one main swimming pool and another smaller pool to be used for a ‘learn to swim’ programme.  The committee has recommended the council include this option in its 2018-2028 Long-Term Plan.

The committee has participated in workshops where they were presented with possible options for the future of the pool.  The final recommendation from the committee includes both a larger and smaller pool alongside an additional larger ‘Sprung’ structure so that future development is still possible.  $4.5 million was set aside in the 2018/19 year budget for the cost of redevelopment and the committee’s recommendation falls close to this, at an estimated cost of $4,581,000. 

The committee also recommended that the new pool’s operating costs be spread wider through the district rather than only rating those in the Amberley ward.  The new swimming pool will have features that other local pools in the district do not have, and it is intended that it will operate year round.  With the exception of the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa complex, all other pools in the district are only open to the public during the summer months.

Interim Committee Chair, Cr Geoff Shier, says the committee’s recommendation to the council is a significant step forward in the process, after several reports and workshops where the committee received advice from experts in the aquatics industry.

“While the current pool serves a purpose in the community, it is now 90 years old and is not fit for purpose.  The committee’s recommendation to the council strikes the right balance between providing the community with a suitable facility while also future proofing the development so further swim features can be added at a later date.”

The committee also considered the option of renovating the existing pool, however the advice received was that this option was problematic and limiting given the age of the pool and unknown condition of all components.  The preference was therefore to build new, and the chosen option is thought to best provide for the current and future needs of the district.

Hurunui District Council Public Services Manager, Audrey van der Monde, says this is an important decision that was worked through carefully by the committee, and will now allow the redevelopment to be considered by the council.

“If adopted by the council, the committee’s decision will provide a fantastic facility for the community.   The challenge will be to manage the increased operating costs compared with that of the existing summer time pool, without over-burdening our ratepayers.”

The council is expected to make a decision on the inclusion of the committee’s recommendation in the upcoming long-term plan draft budget at its November meeting.