Centre's new blocks help boost reputation

STEPHEN FORBES
Last updated 11:17 03/05/2012
POOL
STEPHEN FORBES
NEXT GENERATION: Hannah Anderson, 10, from West Auckland Aquatics sits on one of the new starting blocks.

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The addition of eight new Olympic-standard starting blocks at the West Wave Aquatic Centre is boosting its reputation as an international sporting venue.

Swimming Auckland executive officer Brian Palmer says the timing couldn't have been better.

"They were finally installed just in time for the Swimming New Zealand Open Championships and the Olympic trials which we hosted in March."

But the starting blocks have raised questions about why the council isn't doing more to support the Henderson venue.

Mr Palmer says the new starting blocks cost $70,000 to buy and install and were partly funded by a $28,000 grant from the Henderson-Massey Local Board and $20,000 from The Trusts.

"The balance we obtained through commercial donations and our own funding," he says.

Mr Palmer says the starting blocks are an important addition to the swimming facility.

"This equipment has raised and modernised the standard of West Wave Aquatic Centre as a competition venue."

Local board chairwoman Vanessa Neeson was pleased to help with the funding but says the Auckland Council should have done more to fund the work.

"The West Wave Aquatic Centre is now the only swimming pool in the country suitable for Olympic qualifying events.

"So it's a real concern to me that we had to find the money."

She says it's a regional facility and deserves the council's support.

Deputy mayor Penny Hulse says local boards shouldn't have to find funding for this kind of project.

"This is a really good example of the frustrations we are all facing under the super-city.

"We are still trying to sort out what's local and what's regional in terms of funding.

"We don't want to see local boards picking up the tab for regional projects when they don't have the budget for it."

The West Wave Aquatic Centre was built for the 1990 Commonwealth Games but it has never been funded as a regional facility.

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