Aquatic plans for New Brighton delayed
A decision on whether aquatic facilities will be built in New Brighton has been delayed by the Christchurch City Council.
After more than two hours of discussion on aquatic facilities and the eastern recreation and sport facility, the council's planning committee decided to defer the report to the incoming council for its consideration.
Councillors voted three to two, with chairwoman Sue Wells abstaining, to defer it.
Cr Peter Beck said it was diffifult to make a decision without having a complete picture of aquatic facilities in the city.
He said that as the eastern recreation and sport facility decision had been deferred earlier in the meeting, the decision on aquatic facilities should be too.
Today's council planning committee meeting heard from groups pushing for a water park in the east.
Burwood-Pegasus Community Board member David East, along with Tim Sintes, proposed an aquatic centre for the earthquake-hit seaside suburb last year.
Their proposal included a wave pool, a play area for children, a pirate-themed water park, hydroslides, a toddlers' pool and a 25-metre lap pool.
East said many of those features were replicated in plans for a metro sports facility on the edge of the central city.
East, who addressed the committee this morning, said they wanted to attract visitors to the eastern suburbs, but having similar features in two places made one less viable than the other.
The committee was told the east could, like the Gold Coast and Hanmer Springs, prosper with a water facility.
East said the proposal had the support of 20,000 people who wanted to see an aquatic centre in the New Brighton area.
The community had built a pier against the odds and could repeat that effort, he said.
Eastern residents would be "infuriated" if the project did not go ahead.
East said that community had been stripped of many assets, and a focus on attractions for the central city as opposed to the suburbs would be unacceptable.
Paul Zaanen, manager of the New Brighton Business and Land Owners' Association, said any decision the council made would have long-term repercussions for the east.
"Christchurch must be ambitious and forward thinking ... It is time to be bold and it is time to be ambitious," he said.
Many believe the proposed park could rescue New Brighton from decline and put it back on the map.
Costing $30 million to $35m, it would become the new heart of New Brighton, sitting across the street from the library on land now occupied mostly by a Countdown supermarket.
The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust has granted $6.5m for water attractions at the new Christchurch City Council Recreation and Sports Centre in the eastern suburbs.
This grant includes $3.1m donated by an anonymous donor who gave $5m to the appeal to help fund projects for children in the eastern suburbs, and $500,000 from the New Zealand Community Trust.
A study to evaluate a range of aquatic development options for New Brighton, including looking at how a new eastern recreation and sport facility will fit in, will be tabled at the committee meeting today.
The planning committee report covers eight options, including combining the water park with the eastern recreation and sport facility.
However, staff propose that a smaller scale and staged "Waterpark in a Village" option would revitalise New Brighton at a lower cost.
This option includes a small relocatable saltwater hot-pool complex on the foreshore and would not replicate any facilities at the eastern recreation and sport facility. It would be located somewhere the council believes best meets the needs of the wider east.