The future of Dunedin's pool facilities was the subject of
scrutiny and tense debate yesterday. Photo by Linda
Plans for a new pool at Mosgiel - or improvements to
Dunedin's existing Moana Pool - need to be progressed more
quickly, a Dunedin city councillor says.
The plea from Cr Bill Acklin came as councillors considered a
staff report detailing the likely cost of four options to
improve the city's aquatic facilities.
The report showed the estimated cost of a new swimming
complex at Mosgiel had risen by more than 50%, from $11.5
million to $18 million, since a report by the council's
aquatic services working party last year.
The latest figures came after a review of the working party's
work and prompted at-times terse debate at yesterday's
2013-14 budget meeting.
Mosgiel Taieri Community Board chairman Bill Feather,
speaking early yesterday, urged the council to do more to
give ''strong direction'' to the Mosgiel community by
finalising plans in the coming budget.
Cr Acklin - a member of the aquatic services working party -
agreed, saying the council had ''taken the foot off the
throttle with this'' and needed to do more, sooner.
The staff report recommended finalising pool plans in time
for the next long-term plan budget meeting in 2015.
Cr Acklin believed that was too long to wait.
''There needs to be some sort of positive steer from the
council, not just for the Mosgiel community, but for the
community at large . . . about how we are going to go about
improving our aquatic facilities.''
The council staff report also detailed the revised cost of
three other pool options for Mosgiel, and a revised upgrade
plan for Moana Pool, which saw the cost drop from $13.2
million to $3.9 million.
Council aquatic services manager Steve Prescott said the
changes reflected a more up-to-date analysis of pools built
recently around New Zealand, compared to older information
used by the working party.
However, Cr Syd Brown questioned why the consultant, SGL,
used in the original review of the city's pool facilities had
not been asked to review the latest report's findings.
''I'm uncomfortable that we have a consultant and we have cut
Mr Prescott said it was felt not to be necessary, and council
operations general manager Tony Avery said they had not
provided any analysis of costs originally anyway.
The detailed review of costs was new information offered by
council staff, and focused only on a slice of the wider
review undertaken originally by SGL, Mr Avery said.
It was also worth noting the council's working party had not
met for a year, since issuing its report, and so had not had
an opportunity to consider the report reviewing their
findings, he said.
Cr Acklin said the report's findings had come as a ''huge
surprise'' to working party members, and questioned the
reliability of the review's estimates of how many people were
likely to use the different pool options.
Mr Avery said the numbers could be debated, but were
Debate also turned to re-establishing the working party to
consider the review's findings, but grew tense when Cr Teresa
Stevenson suggested the membership was ''quite heavily
weighted'' in favour of ''people with a Mosgiel connection''.
Cr Colin Weatherall - who lives in Brighton and was the
working party's chairman - rejected that, saying ''I thought
we were all city councillors'', as did Cr Acklin.
Cr Stevenson tried to reply but was called to order by Mayor
Councillors voted to re-establish the working party to
consider the review's findings, with the terms of reference
and membership to be determined at the next meeting of the
council's community development committee.