Council 'moving quickly' over pool options

Late yesterday afternoon, Wanaka went from a town without a swimming pool to a town with two swimming pools in prospect.

The existing Wanaka pool closed on Friday after an engineering assessment confirmed the building was a ''very low level'' earthquake risk.

That caused upset among swimmers who flooded the Queenstown Lakes District Council with comments.

Then yesterday at 5.15pm, council general manager operations Ruth Stokes sent an email to media saying the council was ''moving quickly'' to consider all options including the ''extent and cost of remedial strengthening work that would be required to reopen in the short term''.

But she also revived an idea for a new pool in Wanaka's Three Parks subdivision.

That idea was rejected by the council in March in favour of a $2.1 million upgrade and expansion of the existing pool, now closed.

Staff were ''already assessing options for upgrading the pool and adding a learners' pool, before Friday's closure,'' she said.

''Another possibility under consideration is to build a completely new facility at the Three Parks site along with the new Wanaka Sports Facility.

''We are continuing to evaluate the viability of those options,'' Mrs Stokes said.

Her email pipped by just one minute an email from the developers planning the huge Northlake residential development on the outskirts of the town.

Planner John Edmonds said in his email a new 25m indoor public swimming pool was one of the ''key features'' of the development.

''A 25m indoor public swimming pool, land allocated for affordable housing, a child care centre, convenience retail stores and sports facilities will be key features of a new housing development in Wanaka,'' Mr Edmonds said, pointing out the council had still to approve the plan change required for the development to go ahead.

''The new pool building, which will also include a gym, has been designed to fit with the Wanaka landscape, in the classic style of a high country station shearing shed,'' he said.

''The pool will be permanently available for public use.''

Mr Edmonds said the developers would approach the council to discuss options to fast-track the new swimming pool in stage 1 of the North-lake development.

''This could result in the new swimming pool being available for the public by 2015.''

• Ms Stokes said the council was finalising details with the Central Otago District Council so Wanaka residents could swim at the Cromwell pool for the same price as they would have paid in Wanaka, by producing proof of residence.

Pass-holders could also use their passes at the Cromwell pool.

Ms Stokes aid the arrangements should be firmed up ''within days'' and passes would be honoured at Alpine Aqualand in Frankton.

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