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Pool upgrade ‘high-risk’

Significant work is needed to convince potential funders to invest in the Olympic Pool redevelopment project, the District Council Future Tairawhiti committee will be told tomorrow.

There are also questions about the proposed design.

The council has resolved to contribute $5.65 million towards the $21.5 million cost of the project, but is told in a report by livable communities director Andrew White that significant work is needed to build confidence among potential funders before they are prepared to commit to the project.

His report describes the redevelopment as a high-risk project for the council, largely because of the high capital cost and uncertainty of funding.

The report notes that no external funds have been confirmed for the project.

The council has committed insufficient funds to undertake extensive redevelopment on its own, and has not met the typical one-third minimum contribution normally expected to attract external funding for a project of this type, the report says.

Sufficient local funding is necessary to leverage investment from national funders.

The council recently agreed to a memorandum of understanding with Eastland Community Trust, with further work done to establish an agreed investment framework.

Staff of both organisations have discussed how the partnership can be leveraged to attract additional investment likely to be confirmed in 2019.

Feedback from a local funders forum in October indicated that significant further detail is required to attract funding from local funders.

Aquatics facility project manager mootedMr White makes a number of recommendations to the committee.

These include having option 3, which drew the greatest support in public consultation, remaining the preferred option.

Phase one of this would include an eight-lane multi-use 50-metre pool, a spa pool, learn-to-swim and hydrotherapy pool, administration facilities and additional change facilities.

The council has resolved to redevelop the pool with these indoor facilities in years one to three of the 2018/28 long-term plan. Phase two would include outdoor infrastructure, including a leisure water area and two hydroslides.

The report continues to recommend option 3, despite doubts about the design expressed by Sport New Zealand — including questioning the need for a 50-metre pool.

Sport New Zealand’s modified version of option 2 includes a repositioned, ideally 10-lane, lap pool that is compliant with short course competitions.

It also suggests a larger learn-to-swim hydrotherapy pool, rearranging the facility to enhance the connection with Centennial Marine Drive, a redesigned leisure pool with varying depths to provide flexibility for additional learn-to-swim and aqua fitness, an additional splash pad/spray park and having the capacity to add a first-floor fitness centre overlooking the pool area.

A review by Maven Consulting Group, which also reviewed the library and navigations projects, recommends contracting an experienced specialist aquatics facility project manager to oversee the remaining design and construction phases of the project, and restructuring the project steering group to include internal and external technical specialists.

File picture by Paul Rickard