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
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
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.''