Centennial Pool fight 'not over'

SAM SACHDEVA
Last updated 09:24 27/02/2013

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Centennial Pool supporters say the fight to save the earthquake-hit facility is not over, despite city council staff advising against its repair.

The Christchurch City Council-owned recreation and sports centre was badly damaged in the February 2011 quake.

Its fate has been up in the air after the Christchurch Central Development Unit's (CCDU) central city blueprint earmarked the site as a children's playground and greenspace area.

City councillors voted in June last year to investigate whether the pool could be temporarily repaired, but the process was held up while discussions with CCDU officials took place.

A staff report for tomorrow's council meeting has recommended that the temporary repairs do not take place.

In the report, council recreation and sports manager John Filsell said the Centennial site was a "significant" part of the eastern frame, as it would connect the area with the Avon River park.

Doubts existed whether the centre could be repaired, while operating costs were likely to outweigh revenue from the facility and create a deficit, he said.

While engineering consultancy Beca had estimated the cost of repairs at $9.5 million - above its $7.2m insured value - it was "highly probable" that a final repair bill would be larger as more damage was uncovered.

Save Centennial spokeswoman Simone Pearson said she would speak to councillors at their meeting tomorrow in an attempt to salvage the pool for inner-city residents and workers.

"The fight is not over ... there are gaping holes in the process, and once it's gone it's gone forever."

The council's repair costs were based on fixing it to a "pristine standard" rather than for use as a transitional facility, she said.

The council should not be forced to use the insurance money from Centennial to fund the CCDU's metropolitan facility, she said.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's recent wellbeing survey identified the loss of recreational and cultural facilities as the issue which had affected most residents since the quake.

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- The Press

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