'We’d like to apologise': Cost of keeping Wharenui Pool open far less than council first thought

Swim club president Chris Averill is concerned about how plans to decommission Wharenui Pool will...
Swim club president Chris Averill is concerned about how plans to decommission Wharenui Pool will impact the wider community. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The Wharenui Swim Club has found the maintenance costs for Wharenui Pool could be about $5 million less than the Christchurch City Council Recreation and Sports Services unit initially calculated.

The unit has apologised for an error in its calculations, which originally said the cost to maintain and operate Wharenui Pool for the next 10 years would be more than $7.7 million.

City council staff have agreed there was a substantial error their calculations. It comes as more than 2500 people have signed a petition to stop the city council decommissioning the pool once the Parakiore Metro Sports Facility and Hornby Pool open in the next two years.

The proposal was revealed in the city council’s 2021-2031 draft Long Term Plan, which is currently taking public submissions until Sunday.

Said city council manager of recreation and sports services David Bailey: “We have committed to working with Wharenui Swim Club to refresh this data to ensure we have an accurate figure for the projected costs over the next 10 to 20 years.

“We’d like to apologise to the community and key stakeholders, particularly those who have taken the time to make a submission on the future use of the pool."

Wharenui Swim Club President Chris Averill believes the benefits of the pool far outweigh any financial savings the city council may get from closing it.

The club wants to run the pool themselves instead or lease pool lanes at Parakiore.

The swim club is one of the oldest in the country. The Wharenui Amateur Swim Club was founded in 1911 and was constructed as a memorial to the coronation of King George V.

It has taught more than 200,000 Cantabrians how to swim through its successful Learn to Swim programme.

In its more than 100-year history, the club has produced many New Zealand representatives in swimming, most recently Matt Hutchins at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Averill said he is pleased the city council will review the cost estimates with the club.

The club's petition can be found here. It will be presented at a city council meeting in the coming weeks.

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