The physio pool
The Dunedin physio pool seems set to get a reprieve until
June and has a shot at a longer future, with a Dunedin City
Council offer of support.
The council has indicated it will lend up to $50,000 to the
Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust, which runs the pool, so it can
begin investigating whether it is viable to keep the facility
open beyond June.
Councillors at yesterday's community development committee
meeting voted unanimously to recommend the council offer the
lifeline, despite several of them expressing concern the
Southern District Health Board appeared to be dumping a
problem and expecting the community to sort it out.
They also made it clear the loan did not signal any
commitment to any long-term council involvement in the pool
and that the trust was expected to pay the money back.
''It is simply that we are probably the best-placed group to
do something at the moment to facilitate and co-ordinate
saving it,'' Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said.
The board decided earlier this year to close the pool in
December because it could neither afford to fix the ageing
building and pool nor its $100,000 annual operating cost.
Infrastructure and networks general manager Tony Avery said a
preliminary assessment by the SDHB indicated it would cost
about $1 million to fix various issues with the pool
building, but a council review suggested there were gaps in
the information and a more in-depth assessment would be
needed before any decisions about the pool's long-term future
The council's indication of support for the trust, which is
to be confirmed at the next full council meeting, on
September 22, comes after the Bendigo Valley Sports and
Charity Foundation last month granted the trust $50,000 to
cover the pool's operating costs from December to June.
SDHB chief executive Carole Heatly said yesterday she was
''delighted'' with the support to keep the pool open, and the
board would reconsider the December closure date at its
October or November board meeting.
SDHB chairman Joe Butterfield told the Otago Daily Times late
last week he personally had no issue with keeping the pool
open until June if the trust came up with the operating cost
for that period and there were no public health concerns with
Council aquatic services manager Paulien Leijnse yesterday
said she could not see any public health issues with keeping
the pool open so long as regular daily testing of the water
continued to ensure it met NZ Standards.
Pool trust treasurer-secretary Neville Martin said he was
pleased with the council having a supportive view and looked
forward to its final decision.
The trust's first task would be to apply for funding to repay
the council for the cost of the viability study and engage an
engineer to do the investigative work.
Time was of the essence and the trust really needed to know
within the next six months what the costs would be to ensure
there was time to consider the options for the long term, he
Ms Heatly said if the study demonstrated that with a capital
injection to repair long-term damage, the pool had a
sustainable future, the board could then work with the trust.
Crs David Benson-Pope, John Bezett, Doug Hall and Andrew
Whiley sought assurances the SDHB's motivations in closing
the pool were simply about money and not that they wanted to
use the site for anything else.
Mr Martin said he was assured it was purely a financial
decision and the board was interested in entering a lease
arrangement with the trust should the pool be retained.
Crs Hilary Calvert, Lee Vandervis, Mike Lord, Richard Thomson
and Chris Staynes were not at yesterday's committee meeting.