More aquatic centre consultation

Wanaka Sports Facility Steering Group chairman Duncan Good stands on Wanaka land earmarked for a sports facility that could include a new aquatic centre. Photo by Mark Price.
Wanaka Sports Facility Steering Group chairman Duncan Good stands on Wanaka land earmarked for a sports facility that could include a new aquatic centre. Photo by Mark Price.
Wanaka swimmers are being given another chance to push for an aquatic centre to be included in stage one of the town's proposed new $16 million sports complex.

But, if swimmers succeed, proposed indoor facilities for other sports are likely to be deferred.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council started a new round of public consultation yesterday and Wanaka Sports Facility Steering Group chairman Duncan Good told the Otago Daily Times the aquatic centre was part of the mix.

The idea for the sports complex in the big new Three Parks subdivision on the outskirts of Wanaka was first raised eight years ago.

Plans have never previously included an aquatic centre in stage one, and the council does not have an aquatic centre for Wanaka in its 10-year plan.

However, a round of public consultation in 2011 ranked an aquatic centre as the the town's highest priority - ahead of indoor courts, outdoor grass sports fields, outdoor courts and an artificial turf - although swimmers have previously said they preferred a Kellys Flat site, in Aubrey Rd, rather than the Three Parks site.

Mr Good said as the result of that consultation, a ''footprint'' for an aquatic centre was included in the Three Parks plan, with the centre not being constructed until sometime after 2021.

The new round of consultation was ''about throwing the pool in the mix and understanding what priorities the public has'', Mr Good said.

''It's not set in stone that the pool's not part of stage one.''

If the aquatic centre was to become part of stage one, ''you wouldn't be able to do the actual dry-courts building as well as the aquatic centre within the budget'', he said.

''But you could do an aquatic centre with outdoor playing fields, artificial turf and things, with the courts to follow at a later date in stage two.''

The steering group plans to report back to the council before its March meeting, and Mr Good envisaged a start being made this year on the infrastructure for the complex.

As part of the consultation process, the steering group will hold individual meetings with sports and community groups and an online council survey is open to the public until the end of February.

While financial aspects of the development were not part of the steering group's consultation, ''the other dynamic'' with the project was the level of funding available, Mr Good said .

He understood about $5 million of the budget for the complex would come from development contributions associated with the Three Parks subdivision and the next-door property.

However, the Government is proposing changes to the Local Government Act that would prevent the council from using development contributions for sports facilities - leaving them to be funded through alternative sources such as rates.