The trust running
Dunedin's physio pool says a $50,000 grant to support the
facility should earn it a six-month reprieve from
However, the plea has yet to sway Southern District Health
Board chairman Joe Butterfield, who told the Otago Daily
Times the money, while ''a good start'', was not enough to
prevent the pool's closure in December.''
That decision has already been made.''
I don't want to knock the $50,000 - I think that's great -
but it will need a bit more than that. But that's at least a
start,'' Mr Butterfield said.
His comments came after the Bendigo Valley Sports and Charity
Foundation, a Dunedin gaming machine trust, announced the
grant to the Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust yesterday.
Bendigo trust chairman Ian Carter hoped it would allow the
pool to remain open for another six months, until mid-2015,
while fundraising efforts to save it ramped up.
Pool trust secretary-treasurer Neville Martin agreed and said
the grant should be a ''significant step'' towards saving the
However, their hopes were dashed, at least for now, by Mr
Butterfield's comments later yesterday.
The board announced in July it could not afford to cover a
$100,000 annual shortfall in operating costs, as well as the
estimated $1 million upgrade cost believed to be required.
Yesterday, Mr Butterfield said the grant did not change the
dilemma facing the health board. The pool had to be closed
and drained for cleaning, and expert advice was that would
cause some of the pool's tiles to fail, he said. If that
happened, all the pool's tiles would have to be replaced, at
''significant'' cost, although exactly how big the bill would
be was not known.
''While it won't take $1 million straight away, it may well
need a fair amount of capital work right there and then. The
problem is we just don't know how much that will be.''
Mr Martin, told of Mr Butterfield's comments, disputed
suggestions the pool would need to be emptied, and said he
was ''still trying to get people to understand that''.
He would ''discuss those issues with the board'' within days,
but insisted the grant remained ''a positive step''.
''I just hope the board sees it in a positive light, rather
than tries to pour cold water on the idea of keeping it
going,'' Mr Martin said.
''We've yet to convince the [board] that we will get the time
to do it, but this is the perfect reason for them to allow us
Health board member Richard Thomson - also a Dunedin city
councillor - said yesterday he still hoped the pool could
The pool trust was talking to Dunedin City Council aquatic
services staff to see if cleaning could be delayed until
later next year, he said.
That would buy more time, but the board had to be sure people
using the pool would not be entering ''a toxic environment''.
''My view is as long as the board can be assured by expert
advice that we're not putting anyone at risk ... that's what
Mr Thomson, Mr Martin and others were also working on plans
to ensure the pool remained open, based on a fundraising
drive and community ''ownership'', Mr Thomson said.
Mr Carter said his trust decided to help because the pool was
''a Dunedin icon'', and it was possible more grants could be
''We would certainly be happy to look at anything to keep the
Mr Butterfield believed the solution was for ''community
outfits'' to ''get in behind the pool trust and support
''We don't want to see it [the pool] go any more than anyone
else, but we can't afford it.''