Plans for new hydroslides dumped

The ageing hydroslides at Moana Pool in Dunedin will be refurbished, rather than replaced. PHOTO:...
The ageing hydroslides at Moana Pool in Dunedin will be refurbished, rather than replaced. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Plans to build new hydroslides at Moana Pool in Dunedin have been scrapped amid cost pressures.

They will instead be refurbished and strengthened.

The learners’ pool is also set to be closed from mid-April to mid-July while maintenance is carried out on the ceiling and ventilation system above the pool.

The work is part of a broader upgrade at the pool complex, including upgrading family changing facilities.

Dunedin City Council arts, culture and recreation general manager Jeanette Wikaira said the council was facing rising costs and budgets had to be managed responsibly.

"We had already signalled that due to escalating costs we were reviewing the overall maintenance programme for Moana Pool, and a refurbishment of the hydroslides is the more prudent and cost-effective way forward," she said.

The slides were built in 1984.

"Refurbishing and strengthening the existing hydroslides will avoid the more significant investment needed for new slides, and means our community can continue to enjoy the Moana Pool hydroslides for years to come," Ms Wikaira said.

Swimming lessons would be held in the leisure pool while the learners’ pool was closed.

"This may mean some restrictions on its use for leisure swimming, particularly at peak times, but we’ll try to keep some space available for leisure swimmers at all times," Ms Wikaira said.

"We’re also going to be upgrading the family changing facilities at the same time, including new tiles, lighting, paint and plumbing, which will deliver a noticeable improvement to the facilities."

The Otago Daily Times reported in January replacement of the slides had been put on hold while costs of an upgrade to the broader complex were reassessed.

The council had allocated just over $24 million of capital spending for the complex in its 2021-31 long-term plan, but the upgrade was forecast to exceed this.

There had been cost increases in seismic strengthening work on the external wall at the Stuart St end, because of the discovery of asbestos in the wall.

In January, the project had not yet been trimmed.

A capital spending report for a council meeting this week referred to a larger Moana Pool "renewals expenditure" budget and a pool redevelopment plan "having been rescoped".

Cr Sophie Barker asked if money had been allocated to the hydroslides and was told it had not been.

The ODT asked for clarity from the council about whether replacement of the slides was now off the agenda. The council disclosed yesterday they would be refurbished instead.

It did not have confirmed dates for when the slides would be closed for refurbishment, nor exact costings, but savings were "expected to be in the millions of dollars".

Commentary on social media about the decision was largely unfavourable to the council.