Pool closing unless group takes over

The Clutha District Council granted the Kaitangata pool a reprieve during its long-term plan deliberations yesterday .

The Kaitangata community now has until November 1 to step up and save their pool or it will not reopen.

Last year, the Kaitangata swimming pool was used 436 times, cost $51,699 to run and generated only $345 in admission charges.

The council decided the cost of $117.31 per swim was not sustainable, and no money was budgeted for it to operate this year.

In the consultation period for the 2015-25 plan, the council asked whether the pool ought to be closed, whether it ought to be paid for solely by Kaitangata ratepayers, or whether there was a community group willing to run the pool as was the case in other communities, such as Owaka and Tapanui.

During submissions hearings last week Joyce Beck, representing Kaitangata Promotions, raised questions about how community ownership would work and West Otago ward councillor Michelle Kennedy said there were people in other communities who would be there to help a community group that was interested in taking responsibility for the pool.

Yesterday, however, Kaitangata ward councillor Bruce Graham said he was sceptical the numbers of pool users would increase if it was taken on by the community.

''I don't know if there's an appetite for it,'' he said.

Cr Kennedy said often it was younger families who became involved in running community pools.

''Once it's gone, it's gone. People don't stand up until you take it away.''

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