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Olympic Pool Complex to reopen Saturday

WITH repairs to its 50-metre indoor pool almost completed, the Olympic Pool Complex will reopen on Saturday in time for the start of the annual Swim the Distance.

The complex has been closed since asbestos-containing material (ACM) was found in the overflow drain of the outdoor 33m pool.

Earlier this year, asbestos was discovered in the 50m pool and it was shut down for remediation work and other repairs.

“The work on the 50-metre pool has now almost been completed and it will reopen this Saturday, along with the complex,” Gisborne District Council liveable spaces manager De-Arne Sutherland said.

The asbestos issue with the 33m pool was found during routine maintenance and after further investigation the decision was made to close the complex at the start of this month while repairs to the 50m pool were completed.

The outdoor pool was painted and the overflow channel was covered with an ACM sealant nine months ago.

Ms Sutherland said at the time it appeared the sealant had failed.

The outdoor pool usually remained closed over winter but had remained open while repairs and asbestos remediation were done on the 50m pool.

“The asbestos found in the outdoor pool has been safely encapsulated,” Ms Sutherland said. “That pool will remain closed and off-limits while we undergo the process to remove the asbestos.”

News the indoor pool is set to open again has been welcomed.

Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti community events adviser Debbie Hutchings said the 2021 Swim the Distance event will be sponsored again this year by Recreational Services, who will subsidise the registration fee for the participants.

Last year Swim the Distance marked its 10th anniversary and more than 300 people took part.

“You can swim, walk or jog in the 50 metre-pool, covering the distance of 45.5 kilometres from Gisborne to Mahia, and participants have eight weeks to get there,” Ms Hutchings said.

The event starts on August 1 and ends on September 30.

“We are really excited it can be held this year, given the challenges with repairs at the Olympic Pool,” she said.

“It's great the community can be involved in this event and remember, it is for all ages, stages and fitness levels.”

Some swimmers have racked up several hundred kilometres in previous years.

Ms Hutchings says there will be spot prizes available throughout the event, and a major prize will be drawn at its conclusion.

Registrations can be made at the Gisborne District Council front counter and Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti office in Grey Street, or download an entry form from the Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti website.

“Registrations can be made at the pool complex when it reopens on Saturday.”