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A power-sharing arrangement between Alexandra's ice rink and pool is a step closer after the Vincent Community Board this week agreed to put the matter out for public consultation.
Iceinline president Graham McNabb said he was pleased with the decision as it had been a long process to get to that point.
The idea was first floated when the pool, now called Molyneux Aquatic Centre, was rebuilt on its current site, part of Molyneux Park, in 2003. Over the past five or six years, facing significant increases in power costs, the Iceinline team had put in many hours to come up with a solution, Mr McNabb said.
Now the rink can operate for only three months a year but with a roof, as is proposed, it could open all year round.
As well as rebuilding the rink, the idea is for the two facilities to share a single electrical connection, thus paying only one line fee, and waste heat from the icemaking process will be used to help heat the pool, saving almost $44,000 in the first year.
A loan of $1.5 million would be needed to fund the rebuilding and construction of a joint power plant but that would be serviced by the power savings, taking 24 years to pay off and meaning there would be no effect on ratepayers. That figure is based on the rink operating for six months a year. If it operated all year round, the loan would take 17 years to pay off.
Until the loan is paid off, the council will receive the benefits of the power saving, but once it is paid off, a new agreement will be discussed.
Mr McNabb said ideally the loan would be for less than $1.5 million, but that would depend on other funders.
He asked for a clear decision from the board this week to ''kick-start the process'' of applying for funds.
The Central Lakes Trust had recently granted $45,000 for design work for the relocated rink, but that could not be uplifted as it was subject to the board agreeing to proceed.
Council property and facilities manager Mike Kerr told the board in the 2012-13 year, the cost of powering the pool was $188,637, 42% of the board's power costs and worth almost 4% of board-imposed rates.
Electricity costs are expected to rise by up to 7% in coming years so, if it goes ahead, the power-sharing proposal will result in even greater savings for the ratepayer.
The public consultation period is from mid-September until mid-October and the board will consider submissions at a special meeting in early November.