Decision on pool up grade due soon

A decision on the future of Milton swimming pool's changing sheds is likely in the middle of May, following calls by Milton residents for the facilities to be upgraded.

Clutha District Council manager district assets Jules Witt said the future of the changing rooms would be considered at the council's next standing committee meeting, on April 29, once cost estimates for rebuilding the sheds were available.

"It is likely that the final decision will be made two weeks after that meeting, or may be considered as part of the annual plan process if the cost increases are significant."

An invitation from Milton residents to attend a "pool party" at the pool complex was accepted by councillors on Thursday, one week after residents attended a public forum at a CDC standing committee meeting to tell council they were unhappy with the sheds.

Rosemary Sadler, Nola Allan and Jennifer Smith wanted the councillors to see the condition of the changing sheds first hand.

Pool users told the council large cracks had appeared in the changing shed walls, only one hot shower could be used at a time, and the temperature in the sheds was frequently below 10degC, meaning many people went home to shower and change.

Bruce ward councillor Gaynor Finch was upset by the council staff proposal that work scheduled for this year be put off for another three to five years while the Balclutha pool was refurbished.

"The whole thing needs to be knocked down now."

Milton pool patronage figures, for the size of the population, were better than Balclutha's, she said.

The sheds have been inspected regularly over a six-year period, and an engineer's report back to council said while the changing rooms were "unsightly", they were "relatively sound, despite the obvious movement and large cracks that have appeared".

Hanlon and Partners, which inspected the sheds in February, said in its report the steel roof needed to be replaced, brickwork was not reinforced and cracks had appeared.

The report said the building was structurally sound and recommended the sheds be replaced rather than refurbished.

Clutha Mayor Juno Hayes acknowledged the community support for the complex, and said the council had the money for the refurbishment.

"My concern is spending money on something we have to knock down in a few years."

Council chief executive officer Charles Hakkaart asked if the council could investigate the cost of rebuilding, and prepare a report in time for its next meeting.

Mr Witt said yesterday work on the report was under way.


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