Consultation on physio pool mooted

The Dunedin City Council is to consider consulting residents on whether it should help fund the Otago Therapeutic Pool in Dunedin.

Threatened with closure in the middle of the year, the pool has an annual operating shortfall of $100,000.

Yesterday at the council's long-term plan deliberations, Cr Richard Thomson queried whether support for operational costs should be considered during the current budget process.

The Southern District Health Board has said it will cease to operate the physio pool in June unless it is taken over by the trust.

''I'm suggesting it should be something we put in for consultation, otherwise if we wait till long-term plan deliberations in May, it will be too late, and I want to ensure we are not pretending this issue is not there,'' Cr Thomson said.

The council will discuss the matter next week.

Physio pool trust secretary-treasurer Neville Martin told the Otago Daily Times the trust hoped the council would contribute towards operating costs, but was not asking for a specific amount.

The trust will launch a fundraising campaign about the start of March for both operating costs and $750,000 required to upgrade the pool.

The trust had carried out due diligence, and because of the generosity of contributors, had not had to draw on a $50,000 loan offered by the council for that purpose, Mr Martin said.

Over time, the operating shortfall would reduce because of several factors, including higher admission charges, he said.

''Ideally, at least $750,000 for capital works should be raised prior to June. However, it is likely that at least $500,000 would be required by June to satisfy the trust and the SDHB that the business case for the pool is sound.

"In addition, both parties would need to be satisfied that the projected operating cost shortfall in the first financial year of around $100,000 will be funded.

''The trustees remain positive that with community support a successful outcome will be achieved,'' he said.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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