Councillors address pool issues
Teething issues with the new CBay aquatic centre led to tetchiness around the Timaru District Council table yesterday, along with a concession that a "misunderstanding" was responsible for diving being banned from the diving platform, and councillors wanting the issue of slippery tiles solved.
The 3-metre diving platform was renamed a bombing tower prior to the centre opening, after staff tested it and considered it could be unsafe for all but qualified divers.
"This is disappointing after the process we went through," Cr Pat Mulvey said, referring to the research involved in installing the diving platform.
District services manager Ashley Harper said architects consulted FINA, the international diving organisation, but its standards were for competition diving, which did not equate to "fun" diving.
"There was a misunderstanding, you could say," he said.
"It bemuses me that you can't stand at the end and dive off," Cr Damon Odey said, suggesting there should be some relaxation to the current no-diving rule.
Staff could not rely on the public to obey such a rule, community services manager Sharon Matson said, adding it would be going against all advice to allow untrained divers to dive off the platform.
Unlike a trained diver who dived straight down, the concern was anyone else might go too far out into the pool, landing in shallower water.
A turnstyle part way along the platform would stop people from running along and diving off, Cr Steve Earnshaw suggested, looking for a solution.
Cr Jo Taylor asked how someone could become "qualified".
A one metre diving board was being installed and there was talk of staff possibly teaching diving.
"There are lots of positives about the pool but for 14 to 18-year-old boys there is no bombing off the side because lifeguards say it is too dangerous.
"They are not allowed to ‘flip', what are they allowed to do?," Cr Taylor asked.
Teenagers were enjoying the rapid river and using the spa, Mrs Matson said. She asked councillors not to judge the centre by its first school holidays.
Fibreglass boxes will be installed in the beach area of the leisure pool in an attempt to slow people down and stop them slipping on the tiles. Mr Harper said checks confirmed both the type of tiles used and the way they were installed were correct. "It is the right product but it is not working as well as we expected."
Cr Hamish Fraser said his wife was unwilling to carry their youngest child in to the pool as she was concerned she would slip.
Cr Odey asked if there had been any trials of etching the tiles to reduce the slipperiness.
Mr Harper said there had not, but that was another option which would be looked at if the boxes did not work. He acknowledging the slipperiness was not confined to the leisure pool.
Councillors made it clear the tile issue needed to be fixed quickly, even if that meant emptying pools and/or closing the complex to do so.
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