Queenstown pool closure extended

QLDC sport and recreation manager Simon Battrick stands in the drained lap pool at Alpine Aqualand. Photo: Tracey Roxburgh
QLDC sport and recreation manager Simon Battrick stands in the drained lap pool at Alpine Aqualand. Photo: Tracey Roxburgh

Queenstown's main swimming pool will now be closed for six months for repair work, rather than three.

Alpine Aqualand, at Queenstown Events Centre, shut down in September for repairs to its ceiling, with new tiles and improved ventilation.

It was due to reopen in late December/January, but initial investigations have revealed "significantly more remedial work and increased complexity than initially estimated''.

Repairs will now cost more than the $2.3 million allocated budget, but negotiations on how much more are ongoing.

Queenstown Lakes District Council general manager property & infrastructure Peter Hansby told councillors yesterday it will now remain closed until at least March.

"Without completing the detailed design, the full extent of the issues was not fully understood and advice received to address them was based on the available information at that time.

"The council now has a much more comprehensive appreciation of the increased scope and complexity of the project, and the materials and skills needed to make the pool hall safe and reduce the risk of any future reoccurrence by future-proofing the solution.''

The pool closed for five weeks last year after tiles began falling from the ceiling. All tiles were removed and a temporary plastic ceiling put in place.

"The team is extremely disappointed that the closure of the pool has had to be extended to deliver these essential repairs and the knock-on effect this has on the community.''

The extended closure reflects increased installation requirements for the tiles, replacement of the vapour barrier, delays in materials, additional pipework replacement and a significant upgrade to the ventilation system, he said.

QLDC sport and recreation manager Simon Battrick said it is disappointing for both the community and staff, but getting the work right at this stage was the right thing to do for the long-term future of Alpine Aqualand.

"There's no easy way to say we're closing the pool for six months without disappointing regular users, and can only apologise and offer our thanks for their continued patience.

"We hope opening the Arrowtown Memorial Pool early is some compensation for keen swimmers.

"It is proving a challenge to achieve the desired temperature which was always going to be a concern for an outdoor pool at this time of year.

"The team is currently working on that and are confident the pool can be sufficiently heated,'' Mr Battrick said.

"We'll obviously be extending Aqualand memberships, and as well as Arrowtown Memorial Pool we also have the pool at Wanaka Recreation Centre and encourage people to make use of these great facilities where possible.

Mr Hansby confirmed that the end of March is currently an estimated reopening date and further updates will be provided as the required work progresses.

"The council team will continue to work closely with contractors and suppliers to ensure that the closure period can be minimised as much as possible whilst still ensuring that the repair work delivers the safety and quality standards needed,'' Mr Hansby said. 

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