Moana Pool climbing wall plan put on hold

Tony Avery
Tony Avery
A climbing wall at Dunedin's Moana Pool is still on the cards, although a year-old proposal to build it is still being assessed by Dunedin City Council staff.

A feasibility study, sketch plans from an architect and costings from a structural engineer for the $2.6 million project were presented to the council, which owns the pool, early last year by the Otago branch of the New Zealand Alpine Club.

The plans were for a 427sq m facility at the northern end of the learners' pool, including an 11m main climbing wall and a bouldering area, other climbing walls, a reception area, kitting-out area, commercial kitchen, toilets and cafe.

The Alpine Club, which proposes to set up a trust that would raise two-thirds of the cost and borrow the remainder, proposed the idea to the council early last year, after preparing the proposal in 2011.

A paper to councillors setting the final budgets for the 2013-14 financial year laid out options for changes to Dunedin's aquatic facilities in the mid- to long-term, including an upgrade of Moana Pool, but did not include any mention of a climbing wall.

Council's city operations manager Tony Avery said although the club only wanted the council to be a guarantor on a loan to help fund the wall, the council was yet to work out what its risk would be in that scenario.

The funding constraints the council faced this year also meant it ''really wasn't the right time to put it up''.

Adding the facilities to the site had been investigated, but was not yet in the council's long-term budget and, as such, was not addressed in this year's staff report to councillors on aquatic services issues to consider while setting next year's budget.

However, if the club made a submission through this year's annual plan consultation process, it might be considered as part of the following year's process, he said.

New Zealand Alpine Club and project member Andy Cunningham said he met council chief executive Paul Orders about the wall, and Mr Orders had asked him to look at alternative sites for the centre, but they had decided Moana was still the best option.

The climbing wall project presented little risk to the council, as if enough funds were not raised the project would simply fold, he said.

Mr Cunningham believed the wall would be so popular the loan could be repaid in two to three years, at which point the trust would gift the wall to the council.

''I'd certainly be keen that it did happen in the long term, largely because it makes money for the council. I went into it because it is a win-win. It provides a facility and makes money for the council, and I'm very confident it would make money. But in these economic times, if it has to be deferred a few years, that is fine too.''

Noticeably absent

Most high schools, and the uni, have a few holds stuck on the wall and call it a climbing wall. All of these walls play second fiddle to any other sport that might be using the space. There is a private bouldering room which does a great job but is not set up to serve the needs of children, youths and the general public.  Dunedin really is an anomaly in not having a full-spec wall as most small centres have recognised the benefits of the sport. Twizel, Wanaka and Queenstown all have good sized walls which are used regularly. Christchurch has several and is often standing room only in the kids 'Clip 'N' Climb' section.

Another climbing wall

Is there not already a climbing wall at the uni?

Read the article

Like a stuck record blah blah blah Stadium, blah blah blah Stadium Boldor how about having a go at reading the article.

The proposal is the Alpine Club raises the money uses the facility until it's paid off and gifts it to the council, ie. you!

There is a climbing wall in Tauranga and when we were there recently we took the kids and you could hardly get in the place it was so busy. They also had a set up in the warehouse next to it for parkour and that was busy as well.

Maybe thats why Tauranga has overtaken Dunedin population wise bit more positive and go ahead perhaps.


Climbing wall

How long is it going to take before these people realize we have no money to do small projects like this because all of our cash is being spent on the Stadium and its all-consuming need for money?

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