Patron boost for pool trust

Moves to build a $15 million-plus aquatic centre in Mosgiel have been boosted by former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Prof David Gerrard becoming patron of a trust promoting the facility.

Taieri Community Facilities Trust spokesman David Murphy welcomed the appointment of Prof Gerrard, of the University of Otago, yesterday.

Mr Murphy also provided further key details of the trust's preferred option for the new aquatic complex, including adding a 20m x 10m hydrotherapy pool and spa facility.

Last year it had been proposed to build a 25m x 25m main pool and 20m x 10m learners pool in Mosgiel, at an estimated cost of $8.95 million.

Mr Murphy said yesterday it was now proposed to build a $15 million-plus facility, including a hydrotherapy pool.

The Dunedin City Council had agreed to provide $30,000 to enable the trust to undertake a feasibility study and to investigate options for the proposed centre.

The trust planned to appoint a project manager to prepare the feasibility study, which would consider options including a site.

It was hoped to start that work by the end of the month.

Adding the hydrotherapy pool would strengthen the overall value of the aquatic centre and make it more commercially viable, he said.

The overall complex would be ''a big boost for the community''.

It was hoped to include the project in the council's draft annual plan for 2016-17, and, ideally, to have the complex completed within five years.

Prof Gerrard's appointment would add to overall public interest in the proposed centre, and his high public profile and credibility would encourage greater support for fundraising, Mr Murphy said.

The hydrotherapy pool would aid with rehabilitation after sports injuries and help older residents maintain their health and fitness through exercise and to recover after surgery.

The proposed new centre would also boost the Dunedin and Mosgiel economy, enabling high-profile events, including triathalons, to be held, involving the competition pool, he said.

Prof Gerard said the need for ''a contemporary, multipurpose facility'' in the area was long overdue.

The facility would provide many ''recreational opportunities'' and ''serve competitive aquatic sports, cater for learn-to-swim and offer a unique environment for exercise and rehabilitation''.

- john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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