Tentative nod for pool

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Old facility . . . Preschoolers peer through teh door of the current Amberley pool, which is ner the end of its serviceable life.

By ROBYN BRISTOW

A new Amberley swimming pool may finally be developed, albeit in a watered down form.

The Hurunui District Council proposes a staged development that would see a 25-metre pool and a learners’ pool built. Both would be heated and operated on a key system during the summer months.

A site and costings have yet to be confirmed, but stage one could cost up to $1.8m.

The community facility, which will be built during the 2018/2019 financial year, may eventually be covered for use all year round, with lifeguards and pool staff. This is not expected to happen for several years.

The project has been treading water for almost a decade, with a target of $1.5 million to be raised by the community proving too difficult. The $1.5m would have met a third of the estimated $4.5m costs of a covered facility.

The council, at its meeting last week, endorsed the staged development as one of the key issues for public consultation in its draft Long Term Plan 2018-2028. Other issues are the introduction of new rates to cover earthquake-related infrastructure issues, footpath maintenance, and road funding.

Splitting the pool project into two stages made it more affordable for the district to build a pool quickly and future-proof a facility. The council’s existing pool is quickly nearing the end of its useful life.

Even if the community could raise enough money for a covered pool, the council said running it would be unaffordable for the small population that would have to pay for it.

It says the district is already facing big costs over the 2016 earthquakes and the cost of meeting drinking water standards.

A heated pool could have seen ratepayers being asked to find an extra $200 a year to build a $4.5 million pool.

Mayor Winton Dalley says if the community can find some money, the second stage could happen at any time.

The council’s public services manager, Audrey van der Monde says now that the council has endorsed the key issues for public consultation, the Hurunui community can contribute to council planning and influence the rating outcomes for these significant issues.

She says, like other key issues, the available options on how to get the pool kickstarted without placing an excessive burden of cost on ratepayers will be an important part of the public consultation process.

The public are invited to submit feedback on the council’s draft Long Term Plan from March 30 to April 30. Details are available on the council website.