Centennial Pool's future to be discussed

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 10:16 01/11/2012

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The future of the Centennial Pool will be back on the agenda tomorrow when Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee meets the Christchurch City Council.

Save Centennial Pool spokeswoman Simone Pearson said she hoped the meeting would provide some clarity on the pool's future.

The pool sits within the green frame in the Government's central-city blueprint and has been earmarked as a children's playground.

Council-commissioned engineering reports showed the pool could be repaired for less than $2 million to an "as new" standard, Pearson said, on top of an insurance payout of $7.2m.

The council had resolved, subject to cost, to fix the pool as a transitional city project.

However, because the pool lay within the designated frame, it was up to Brownlee to approve any repairs.

Brownlee will have to decide whether restoring the pool would "hinder" the development of the eastern frame.

"He may make a decision on that tomorrow. Our view is that restoring the pool doesn't hinder the development but actually enhances it," Pearson said.

She said the group had requested a meeting with Brownlee three times but was told "he has prior commitments".

"We understand tomorrow's meeting is not open to the public so councillors Tim [Carter] and Yani [Johanson] will be briefing us afterwards."

Pearson said the investment needed to repair the pool was "small by comparison" with the city council's decision to fully restore the Town Hall.

She noted the spending of $35m on a temporary rugby stadium built in just 100 days.

"The investment required to repair the Centennial is small by comparison and would assist the recovery by bringing life back into the city centre in short order and assist the recovery by improving people's physical and mental health."

She said the group was preparing concept plans that would incorporate the proposed playground beside the pool.

"We are very excited by the idea of a playground beside the pool to provide families with a 365-day attraction for 'wet-dry play' in the city centre," she said.

"A pool and a playground go fantastically together. We're not dismissing that idea. It could be a real asset and attraction for the city."

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- The Press

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