Centennial Pool gets reprieve

SAM SACHDEVA
Last updated 05:00 27/06/2012

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Centennial Pool supporters have been thrown a lifeline after Christchurch City Council voted to investigate whether the earthquake-hit pool could be temporarily repaired.

The community pool may also avoid demolition after the first stage of a $280 million metropolitan sports hub is constructed, depending on the outcome of the council's investigation.

The council's draft annual plan had proposed investigating whether the Centennial Pool could be temporarily repaired to provide swimming facilities while a big central-city complex was built.

The draft plan said the Centennial complex would be demolished once the aquatic part of the central-city hub was completed.

Councillors, however, voted against confirming the pool's demolition during their deliberations on the annual plan yesterday.

Cr Tim Carter said it was "just common sense" to delay any decision to demolish the building until councillors had more information.

Cr Yani Johanson said repairing the pool would give central-city residents quick access to an important facility.

"What do people value the most? It's things like their local swimming pool and their local recreation centre, and the sooner we can get the Centennial repaired, the better," he said.

Councillors voted 9-4 to hold off on confirming the demolition of the pool, with a unanimous vote to get a report back from council staff within two months.

Save Centennial Pool spokeswoman Simone Pearson was "thrilled" that councillors had listened to the group's pleas because it would "deliver immeasurable benefit". She said the pool's repair would help meet the short- to medium-term needs of children, the elderly, disabled, workers and families while a new pool was built.

"Without this repair to the Centennial, we could have had thousands of children who were unable to swim or who swim poorly, to say nothing of the health benefits to the wider community," she said.

Councillors also decided against confirming the relocation of the Queen Elizabeth II Park athletics track to Burnside Park.

The draft plan had recommended moving the track to the park "subject to future sign-off" after submissions from athletics groups.

Carter said it was too early to make a decision on the best location for the track.

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- The Press

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