Ball rolling slowly on Mosgiel pool

Dunedin city councillors will consider putting aside money in next year's council budget to pursue further investigation of a new pool in Mosgiel.

But they have warned they cannot commit to a timeline, there is no actual money for it and the community will have to prove its commitment to the project.

The challenge to Mosgiel residents went out at yesterday's full council meeting, at which councillors discussed a recommendation from the aquatic facilities working party that they consider providing a new pool at Mosgiel within five years, and increasing the capacity of Moana Pool in central Dunedin within 10 years.

The working party recommended Mosgiel be the priority, given the state of its pool and the demand for the service.

Cr Jinty MacTavish started the discussion with her concerns the working party's report appeared to promise something that was by no means a given, and still needed to go through the annual and long-term plan processes.

There was much to still understand, including Mosgiel's growth and the project in context of the spatial plan.

She was also concerned the working party's report was too focused on solving parking issues at Moana Pool, when what really needed resolving was how people travelled there.

Cr Chris Staynes said when he first read the working party's report he thought Mosgiel people would think they were going to get a pool in the near future - ''But I don't read the situation that way''.

Unless the council reduced its debt to under $200 million faster than the planned goal of 2021, then ''making a promise any earlier than 2021 is a promise in every likelihood we would have to break''.

Cr Neil Collins said it was important to get some new facilities in an area which was the fastest growing in Dunedin, and urged councillors to get on with it.

Cr Syd Brown reminded councillors when Mosgiel amalgamated with the Dunedin City Council, the Mosgiel borough had money in the bank which all went to the DCC, with nothing asked in return.

The pool had been the main concern of the community for the past nine years and,

while none of the recommendations cemented the pool for Mosgiel, they allowed the council to investigate further and the community to say how it could contribute.

''All they want is a starting gun, something they can go out and fundraise on. They deserve certainty. They don't want it tomorrow, they just want a date in the future.''

Cr Lee Vandervis was unapologetically against the idea.

''This is the thin end of the very, very fat wedge. We're talking about an $8.9 million pool, without operating costs. Where is this money supposed to come from? We've dug a $650 million debt hole already. We have no headroom for spending.''

After a point of order from Cr Brown, he corrected that to $623 million debt.

Cr Teresa Stevenson said she was concerned that a new pool at Mosgiel did not address the problems with pressure on swimming access in the city.

She suggested the issue be left for the next council.

Mayor Dave Cull said it was quite clear the council could not commit to the project financially, and ''certainly not right now', but Mosgiel needed something a little more concrete to aspire to and the council had the responsibility to take the lead on it.

''We are saying yes to this part of the vision, then we have discussion about how, given the constraints of our financial strategy.''

Councillors voted to note the working party's recommendations, agree that further investigative work be done and that funding for that be considered as part of the 2014-15 annual plan and, subject to the prior happening, consider capital and operational expenditure on the 2015-16 long-term plan, which sets out council spending for the following 10 years.

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