Progress on Albany pool

LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 07:38 03/08/2012

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A 20-year dream for a community swimming pool in Albany is about to become a reality.

Survey work is beginning at the North Harbour Stadium site for the Northern Recreation Facility, including a pool.

The $17.8 million project is expected to take three years to finish.

The swimming pool proposal was bogged down in controversy for years under the former North Shore City Council.

The Andrew Williams-led council ordered a third review into the Albany pool site, despite two earlier reviews in 2006 and 2008 backing the stadium over Massey University.

The North Shore Times broke the news in 2010 that the third review also backed the stadium, a major setback for Mr Williams.

The stadium site was chosen as having room for future expansion and with good linkages to an existing recreation facility.

Auckland Council has budgeted for the project in its long-term plan and the Upper Harbour Local Board has agreed to invest $571,000 over the next year for preliminary work.

Long-time pool supporter and local board chairwoman Margaret Miles says the community has been asking for a pool for 20 years.

The board is "relieved that project will finally proceed", she says.

"We have advocated for this project since the beginning of our term as Upper Harbour Local Board members," she says.

"We are very pleased that funding has been included in the long-term plan to make it happen.”

She also advocated for a pool as a former city councillor and backed the stadium as the best site.

Mayor Len Brown says he's thrilled for residents in the Upper Harbour area who will get great use from the new recreation centre.

“However the best news is that, come completion date, the pool will be free for kids 16 and under.”

All council-owned pools will also be free for children this age from early 2013.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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