Hydroslides in Brighton rescue plan

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2012
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Community Spa concept proposed for New Brighton.

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A large swimming centre with hot spas, hydroslides and a lap pool could rescue one of Christchurch's poorest suburbs from decline, local politicians claim.

The proposal for New Brighton seafront has already been embraced as a "stunning idea" by Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker.

The scheme could be funded with $29.5 million set aside in Christchurch City Council budgets for a recreation facility in the northeast, backers say.

The idea is the brainchild of Burwood-Pegasus Community Board members David East and Tim Sintes.

Concept plans include a wave pool, a play area for children, a pirate-themed water park, hydroslides, toddler pool and a 25 metre lap pool on New Brighton seafront. The centre would extend across Marine Parade from the dunes to a site currently occupied by a car park and a supermarket.

East said the scheme would integrate with a recently released council masterplan for New Brighton, which also proposes extending Oram Ave to Hawke St and building an "entertainment hub" on the supermarket site.

"The masterplan has some good points, but we think it lacks the wow factor," he said.

"There is nothing in the masterplan that would warrant investors spending some money in New Brighton. The area needs a point of difference for people to want to go there."

He said the centre could partly replace the QEII Leisure Centre, to be demolished due to earthquake damage.

"We are trying to reinvent New Brighton. We have seen slow roads and paint jobs and patch-ups and none of it has worked," Sintes said.

"What we are trying to do is put New Brighton on the Christchurch map and the New Zealand map. This would do it. There is nothing like this in New Zealand."

Parker said the proposal was "stunning".

"I think the New Brighton masterplan is a great starting point, but I can't help reflect on the fact that we have had a number of plans for the area, but what has long been missing is a drawcard."

Parker said Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) powers may be needed to create a single site for the scheme.

"I raised the idea with [Earthquake Recovery minister Gerry Brownlee ] that it could be an opportunity to look at [Cera's] additional powers to bring together a comprehensive development in that area. There are a lot of old lands titles that would need rationalisation to do this. "

The concept design for the scheme was drawn up by LHT Design, which has on aquatic facilities in Hastings and Napier, and former QEII leisure centre manager Alan Direen.

The proposal was passed at a Burwood-Pegasus Community Board meeting last night, despite "a few concerns being raised", chairwoman Linda Stewart said. "We want it considered and included and if it puts off the master planning then fine with me, we just want to get it done right," she said.

East and Sintes want to present the proposal to councillors when they consider the New Brighton masterplan on Thursday.

If the masterplan is approved by councillors, it will go out for public consultation from December 17.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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