'Floating floor' idea for pool

A movable floor, hot tub and split-depth pool were among the design possibilities raised at a public meeting on Wanaka's proposed swimming facilities this week.

Hosted by the Wanaka Community Board at the Lake Wanaka Centre on Tuesday night, the meeting was attended by about 14 members of the public, along with board members, Queenstown Lakes District Council staff and key project personnel.

Its purpose was to gather ideas for the design of the town's future swimming facilities, which the council has resolved to build next to the Wanaka sports facility at Three Parks, rather than upgrade the existing pool in Plantation Rd.

Regular pool user Maureen Cleugh echoed the view of others at the table when she urged the council to start construction of a new pool as soon as possible.

''Get some agreement and get on with it before some of us older swimmers either die or are too old to use the new pool.''

QLDC recreation programme team leader Jendi Paterson said if public consultation on the council's 10-year plan document showed people wanted to proceed with the pool project now, rather than defer it until 2023, construction would start in December and the pool would open late 2016 or early 2017.

The suggestion of a movable or ''floating floor'' in the proposed new learners' pool appealed to the group, although the cost was yet to be investigated and could be prohibitive, the project's managers advised.

A movable floor system would enable the water depth to be altered so the learners' pool could also cater for hydrotherapy activities, which - like the learn-to-swim programmes - were better suited to warmer water than what the main lap pool would provide.

Wanaka resident Lynette Gordon said she had been impressed by the combined learners' and therapeutic pool at the Cromwell Swim Centre, which has a split level on either side of its central entrance.

Several people at the meeting believed the pool design should include a hot tub, something first-time Wanaka Community Pool visitors regularly came looking for, manager Averil Boag said.

''Especially in winter because there's nothing in Wanaka.''

Deputy mayor Lyal Cocks and councillor Calum MacLeod agreed it was essential to establish a fundraising group for the project to try to ease the impact on rates.

Wanaka GP and multisporter Andrew McLeod said if fundraising was to be undertaken, the pool length should not be limited to 50m.

Albert Town resident Jim Cowie, a former competitive swimmer and physical education teacher, disagreed, saying the capital outlay and ongoing operational costs of a longer pool would be too high.

''I believe if you go to 50m we're going to lose out in the long term. I think a community of this size just cannot and would not sustain a 50m pool.''

Lead architect for the project Daryl Maguire, of Warren Mahoney, said the cost of doubling the pool length would be an extra $4 million to $5 million.

''A 50m pool is a very nice thing to have but very rare in a community of this size.''

The best ''bang for buck'' was to spend the extra money on other features such as a hot tub or a ''zero-depth pool'' for toddlers, he believed.

Wanaka swimming identity Maurice Duckmanton suggested a wall between the main and learners' pools to better separate their respective user groups and said solar heating was ''a must'' for the considerable electricity savings which resulted.

Ms Paterson urged all residents to make submissions on the pool component of the council's 10-year plan before submissions closed on April 29.

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz

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