Viewpoint – Pool still on agenda

By Beth Houlbrooke, Rodney Local Board

I am often asked, “how is the pool coming along?” Submissions on the Long Term Plan continue to show strong support for a pool for Warkworth. It amuses me that there has been comment made through this paper and publicly that a new pool could cost $25 million.

This figure is entirely fabricated, as until the feasibility study is completed we do not know what is proposed. With the study now underway, the scope has been determined – we are looking at something functional not fancy, with a focus on delivering water safety skills/learn to swim, exercise/fitness, hydrotherapy, as well as indoor play space. This could be achieved with two pool spaces, one cooler water pool and a smaller warmer pool, for anything between $5 to $15 million depending on design of the building that houses it.

Another detractor said that we shouldn’t be funding a feasibility study “for a pool which will never be built”. I find that statement lacking in vision and aspiration for this community. Even if construction of a pool does not make it into the current Long Term (10 year) Plan, remember that gets reviewed every three years and we need to be ready to make a pitch for it again in 2018, backed up with our findings and commitment to the project. Waiting until Council says they will fund it is not an option, we are not waiting for a handout. There are many ways a pool could be funded, but all of them require planning.

When we finally arrive at a concept plan, it will be the culmination of five years work. This project has been the most thoroughly investigated and consulted upon of all the Local Board’s projects when it comes to committing ratepayers’ money. Fundraising and forming a trust could now commence and I welcome any enquiries from interested parties to form a steering group.

Earlier this month I chaired the first of our public committee meetings for Parks Culture and Community Development. The two newly-formed committees offer one additional date per month for public deputations and presentations, pertinent to that committee’s business. Requests for more transparency and accountability have been heeded and could not have been so readily granted than at this first meeting where a lively discussion on quotes for the replacement of the Kumeu Arts Centre roof took place.

The board’s dissatisfaction at procurement policy, bureaucratic red tape pushing up the price of ‘preferred supplier’ quotes, and insufficient explanation at the difference in price between the council’s quote and an independently acquired one, resulted in a ground-breaking resolution to grant the Arts Centre a lump sum to undertake the work themselves. In much of Rodney, such projects have been traditionally undertaken by community groups at a far lower cost and faster delivery, than through Council’s approved suppliers. Let’s see if Council can allow this approach to work, for this and future projects.

Viewpoint - Rodney Local Board

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