The Wanaka community pool. Photo from ODT files.
Swimmers are venting their frustrations over the closure
of Wanaka's community pool and demanding answers from the
Queenstown Lakes District Council.
The council closed the pool indefinitely on Friday after
receiving a structural assessment of the building, which
found it was at only 20% of the required standard for
The pool was engineered by Southland designer Tony Major, who
was expelled from the Institution of Professional Engineers
for incompetence last week after the Southland Stadium, which
he engineered, collapsed in a heavy snowstorm in 2010.
Since the announcement, the QLDC Facebook page has been
inundated with comments from upset residents.
Some have called for the council to immediately include a new
pool in its Wanaka Sports Facility plans and ditch a proposed
pool upgrade, while others demanded alternative swimming
services in the interim.
Quentin Smith said the closure must be the incentive to get
the sports centre under way immediately.
''As of today, the QLDC officially provide zero indoor sports
facilities or venues in Wanaka and no outdoor court sports
facilities of any type. This surely is the catalyst for
Wanaka to get the facilities it deserves,'' Mr Smith wrote.
Oliver Young agreed, and said the council had an obligation
to provide a pool, so children of the area could learn to
''This is going to have a disastrous effect on so many people
within our community; those who make their living at the
pool, the competitive athletes both professional and aspiring
youth, all those athletes training for their personal goal of
Challenge Wanaka, all those using swimming for recovery from
injuries or the many who find swimming a great way to keep
fit,'' Mr Young wrote.
Before the building's safety concerns came to light, QLDC
staff had been investigating the cost of upgrading the pool
and adding a learners' pool rather than building a new pool
as part of the new Wanaka Sports Facility at the Three Parks
''All those options will have to be reassessed now, and that
will take a little time,'' the council said on the site.
Amanda Grace said professional athletes in Wanaka depended on
the facility for their careers and many had races booked
abroad with strict training regimes.
''I'm sure the news of this will be very upsetting. Can you
please advise an alternative location for their swim
training,'' Ms Grace wrote.
The QLDC replied: ''We can't tell people where to train, but
the nearest public pools are Cromwell and Frankton.''
Jen Parr asked if the council would provide a shuttle to get
Wanaka residents, including children and people without cars,
to those facilities.
Council staff ''haven't worked through all the options yet'',
the QLDC responded.
Bernie Hewson was ''really upset'' to read the news.
''In the last three-four months I have swum regularly in the
Wanaka pool to help with debilitating arthritis. It has been
a huge help to both my physical and mental health ... I can't
afford the time of 35 minutes each way to the Cromwell pool,
let alone the diesel ...
''What are our options QLDC? Is the council going to provide
fuel vouchers for swimmers to travel to Cromwell?''
The QLDC said it ''can't promise that the council will use
ratepayer funds to subsidise people's trips to Cromwell''.
Some of the posts to the page asked what would happen to the
The QLDC said the workers were the first to be told of the
closure and their situation was ''well understood''.