Three new pools touted for eastern suburbs
Christchurch's quake-damaged eastern suburbs could get three new pools but it is unlikely any will be of size and scale of the lost Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) facility.
After struggling for months to work out where to where to spend the $30.5 million it has on its books for a new pool in the east, councillors have decided to investigate the possibility of taking on three projects rather than just one.
Councillors last year also voted to repair Waltham Pool at a cost of $1.8m.
At the urging of Mayor Lianne Dalziel, councillors have voted to begin a selection process for a new eastern recreation and sports centre in the north east of Christchurch. But at the same time they want council staff to identify options for a legacy project in New Brighton.
Staff will have only until the end of May to report back on the legacy project options, which could include a hot saltwater pool, for the seaside suburb.
Councillors also voted to get staff to look at the opportunities and options for an aquatic facility in the Linwood/Woolston area, possibly in conjunction with the Ministry of Education.
Dalziel said the council would be silly to ignore the opportunities that could arise in the Linwood/Woolston area through the building of new schools.
"It's not going to be major facility but if a school is providing a facility there we should look at whether we can leverage off that?'' the mayor said.
Burwood-Pegasus ward councillor David East said the council needed to stop procrastinating and get on with giving the east some new facilities.
"The loss of QEII has had huge effect on residents of Burwood-Pegasus. Residents are very keen for a replacement facility and have signalled a need for something that is better and bigger than Jellie Park,'' East said.
Alongside the need for a new pool in the east, there was also a need for a project to revitalise New Brighton. It needed to be a legacy project that provided New Brighton with a point of difference.
Council investment in the east in recent decades had been minimal and it was time that was addressed.
"Let's get on and do something on that side of town,'' East said.
East's fellow councillor, Glenn Livingstone, said it was vital there were no further delays.
"This will help the city recover,'' Livingstone said.
Cr Ali Jones said she was happy to accept the mayor's recommendations but worried about the financial implications, particularly when there were other parts of the city that had no pools.
Cr Yani Johanson acknowledged it was not an ideal situation as the council had not completed its citywide review of aquatic facilities, but he said it could not afford to delay any longer.
Cr Jimmy Chen said he could not support putting three new pools in the east when there was a severe shortage of pools in the south-west of the city.