Hot salt-water pool preferred for New Brighton

18:43, Jul 04 2014

A hot salt-water pool complex has emerged as the preferred option for New Brighton's legacy project.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel this year raised the idea of a legacy project for New Brighton because the struggling seaside suburb, which was badly hit by the earthquakes, needed a point of difference.

Since May a community advisory panel made up of representatives from New Brighton community groups, business associations and residents' associations has been discussing what that project should be. It has considered everything from an artificial reef to a casino but has now concluded an all-weather hot salt-water pool complex is the best way to draw people to New Brighton.

Burwood-Pegasus Community Board advisor Peter Croucher said the panel had decided a salt-water pool complex was the only option for a legacy project it wanted the council to consider.

The panel did not have the expertise to assess the cost of such a complex but it believed at least $20 million would be needed. The council would need to get a feasibility study, at a cost of at least $90,000, before it committed any funding, Croucher said in a report prepared for elected members.

The council has not given any indication of how much funding it is prepared to put into a legacy project for New Brighton or where that money would come from.

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It only began exploring options for a legacy project after its hunt for a site for the proposed new eastern sports and recreation centre became mired in controversy.

It struggled for months to work out where to spend the $30.5 million it had on its books for a new pool in the east and in the end decided to investigate the possibility of taking on more than one project.

A working party is due to report shortly on the preferred site for the eastern sports and recreation centre.

Burwood-Pegasus councillor David East said he was thrilled the community advisory panel had settled on hot salt-water pool complex - an idea that had been bandied about since the late 1920s.

"For me it is a no-brainer - it's exactly what we need," East said.

The $20 million price-tag on the project was ambitious but it was not out of sync with what the council was spending in other parts of the city. It had put almost that amount into a coastal pathway for Sumner, which was arguably a legacy project for that suburb.

East said a salt-water pool complex would be the catalyst for a lot of private investment in the area.

The Press