By ROBYN BRISTOW
The wrecked Waiau School community pool became one of the symbols of the devastation wrought by the 2016 earthquake.
Waiau was at the epicentre of the quake and many structures suffered damage. The pool was wrecked. Within days, fundraising for a new pool began.
A Give-a-Little page was set up which captured the hearts of New Zealanders, schools, businesses and organisations, who dug deep for the cause. They held everything from mufti days to cupcake fundraisers to help Waiau in its time of need.
Meanwhile, back home, locals, businesses, sports clubs and visiting groups kept the dollars rolling in.
All these efforts were rewarded this week when the Lotteries Hurunui-Kaikoura-Marlborough Earthquake Relief Fund boosted the coffers with $942,000, giving the rebuild the green light.
The Hurunui District Council and Waiau Pool Committee welcomed the announcement.
It is expected work will begin in September, with the new pool scheduled to open late in January next year.
Waiau Pool Committee spokeswoman Emma Duncan says the rebuild is important for Waiau, and its value to residents is shown by the more than $300,000 in funding raised by the community itself.
“I think as a community we can be really proud of our fundraising efforts that complement the various other funding the project has received.
“After the earthquake took the bulk of community facilities away from Waiau residents, we are all really looking forward to seeing the pool being used again by our people,” she says.
Council chief executive Hamish Dobbie says the funding allocation is the last piece in the puzzle for the facility.
“The project committee has worked incredibly hard to get the funds needed to complete the reconstruction.
“Once completed, the pool facility will be a new hub for Waiau and will provide greater opportunities for community connectedness and engagement.”