Trust will lobby to keep pool

Joe Butterfield.
Joe Butterfield.
In a bid to stop the closure of Dunedin's physio pool, the trust that runs the facility will appeal to Southern District Health Board members in Dunedin tomorrow.

An Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust deputation will ask the board to overrule management and keep the pool open.

The meeting, at Wakari Hospital, starts at 9am and is open to the public.

In his submission, secretary-treasurer Neville Martin will tell members the health board should work with the trust and Dunedin City Council to resolve the financial issues.

''This would involve both parties [the DHB and pool trust] attempting to agree on cost sharing, tenure and responsibility for upgrading facilities,'' Mr Martin said.

''This would allow the trust sufficient comfort to reassure the public that the facility will continue to be available to them.''

The $100,000 annual shortfall and the up to $1 million required upgrade should be considered as separate issues, the trust argues.

Fundraising for the upgrade was more likely to succeed if the health board gave an assurance it would keep the pool open.

The health board had its own physio patients to consider, and providing alternative therapy for them would also cost money, the trust argues.

Dunedin does not have another therapeutic pool, and Moana Pool has no space to develop one, the trust says.

Health board chairman Joe Butterfield, of Timaru, reiterated yesterday that the board ''simply cannot afford to continue running it''.

''It is not a facility that we need to look after our patients or clients,'' Mr Butterfield said.

''We can make alternative arrangements for those that are there. It's costing us a significant amount of money that we cannot afford.

''If the public of Dunedin want it to continue, the public of Dunedin will have to find a way of funding its continuance.''

Asked if the trust was wasting its time making a submission, he said: ''Only time will tell.

''You'll have to wait and see what happens on Thursday.''

Mr Martin's submission has been supplied to board members ahead of the meeting, and is available on the health board's website.

Board management has said the historic pool is ''well beyond its economic life'' and will close in December.


The numbers

Pool costs include. -

Steam                                     $86,000

Electricity                                $17,000

Cleaning                                 $20,000

Qualified lifeguards                 $65,000

Source: Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust

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