Planned Kaikōura hot pools supported but site questioned

The hot pools are proposed for the Kaikōura waterfront. Photo: David Hill / North Canterbury News
The hot pools are proposed for the Kaikōura waterfront. Photo: David Hill / North Canterbury News
Plans to allow a proposed hot pool tourist complex to be developed over a larger area on the Kaikōura waterfront have received wide support in submissions.

But while 71 percent of the submissions supported extending the pool's lease area, some residents wanted a new site to be found.

Submissions were heard on the proposed lease area extension for the hot pool complex at a Kaikōura District Council hearing on Wednesday (February 14).

Kaikōura Springs Ltd was granted a lease in July 2022 for the proposed development on the former Kaikōura Lions Community Pool site, near Gooches Beach.

While developing plans, Kaikōura Springs Ltd found the site was financially unviable, and approached the council last year requesting to increase the lease area from 2400 square metres to 3000sqm.

It would require the relocation of the toilets, playground and barbecue area at the developer’s expense.

The proposal went out for public consultation at the end of last year, with 87 submissions received.

Nine submitters were heard during the hearing, with two in support and seven supporting the hot pools concept, but calling for an alternative site to be found.

The councillors adjourned the meeting to clarify some of the points raised.

Among those raising concerns was Duncan Cotterill senior associate Jamie Robinson, who was speaking on behalf of a local resident.

She said restricting the consultation process to consider whether the lease area on the Esplanade should be extended was ‘‘fundamentally unfair’’ and should have been completely reopened.

‘‘[It limited] people’s ability to submit when the entire lease is being reconsidered and we don’t know whether an alternative site was considered.’’

But Kaikōura District Council acting chief executive Peter Kearney, speaking after the hearing, said the criticisms were unfair.

‘‘We understand it is an emotive subject, but nothing is set in concrete yet.

‘‘Most people are in support, but we need to make sure everything in the process is done right.’’

Should the lease extension be granted, the developer will still need to apply for the necessary resource and building consents, Mr Kearney said.

The developer had considered other sites but came back the Esplanade as the preferred site.

‘‘They can’t come up with plans and designs until they know how much area they can have, so I think it is unfair to expect them to produce detailed designs at this stage.’’

Residents have expressed they want a single-storey building to fit with the environment, according to the submissions.

The Kaikōura Lions Community Pool was destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2016.

A new Kaikōura Aquatic Centre opened in the recreation reserve off Scarborough Street in 2021.

Expressions of interests to develop the Esplanade site were sought in 2020, with just two responses received.

By David Hill, Local Democracy Reporter

■ LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air