Feedback sought on proposal pool be closed

Enjoying themselves at the  Kaitangata Swimming Pool  on Wednesday afternoon  are (from left) Tauryn Shore (12), Keira Thompson (10), Kian Shore (10) and Savana Mottwright (8), all of Kaitangata.  They had the  pool all to themselves.  Photo by Hamish Mac
Enjoying themselves at the Kaitangata Swimming Pool on Wednesday afternoon are (from left) Tauryn Shore (12), Keira Thompson (10), Kian Shore (10) and Savana Mottwright (8), all of Kaitangata. They had the pool all to themselves. Photo by Hamish MacLean.
Community reaction to the possibility the Kaitangata Pool could be closed has been muted.

The Clutha District Council is to consult the public on what to do about the 30m unheated pool and toddlers pool, which last year cost $51,699 to run.

Last year, the pool was used 436 times, generating only $345 in admission charges.

CDC corporate services manager Alan Dickson said a ''significant proportion'' of the funding for swimming pools was made up of rates.

Mr Dickson said the council was examining the future of the Kaitangata Pool, opened in 1969 and covered in 1996, as low use had made it hard for the council to justify continuing to fund it ''especially at [a cost to council of] nearly $118 a swim''.

''As a consequence, three options are being looked at: should the pool be 100% funded through Kaitangata's rates, should it close, or should it become community operated?'' he said.

In the swimming pools report the council received last week, district pools supervisor Holly Ramsay reported the Kaitangata Pool was used only 41 times in December, the lowest monthly use in several years.

The district's better-used pools - Milton and Balclutha - recovered about 10% of the costs to run the pool through user fees last year.

Aside from user fees, the Kaitangata pool was paid for through the community services rate, paid by the Kaitangata community, and a district-wide uniform annual general charge, Mr Dickson said.

Kaitangata Primary School principal Anneta Payne said she would ''hate to see it go as a community facility'', but the school had not used the pool for about five years.

The council covered the cost for pupils to learn to swim, but the school was busing 86 pupils to the Balclutha Pool at a cost of $3 per pupil for lessons this term because it was heated.

Mrs Payne said if the pool were community operated and its use by the school was allowed, she would support a flexible ''key access'' approach for the pool's future.

Kaitangata Promotions' Joyce Beck said the group would discuss the issue at a meeting and could call a public meeting before commenting. Cr Bruce Graham, of Kaitangata, also declined to comment.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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