Pool plan takes shape

Gymsport confident other groups will come on board

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 28/11/2012
Gymsport New Zealand officials including regional relationship manager Nicole Lynch, centre, and chief executive Sarah Ashmole presented their case for the use of Century Pool before the Timaru District Council on Tuesday.
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ

PROPOSAL: Gymsport New Zealand officials including regional relationship manager Nicole Lynch, centre, and chief executive Sarah Ashmole presented their case for the use of Century Pool before the Timaru District Council on Tuesday.

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South Canterbury Gymsport will get the old Century Pool to turn into a gymsports and movement development centre as long as it can convince the Timaru District Council that other groups support its plans.

Gymsport New Zealand chief executive Sarah Ashmole, its regional relationships manager Nicole Lynch, and Ken Grave and David Fridd, from South Canterbury Gymsport's steering committee, spent more than an hour at yesterday's community development meeting, discussing their plans for the old swimming complex.

South Canterbury Gymsport provided the only serious expression of interest in the old pool, which closed mid-year when CBay opened. It went back to the council with the suggestion that the council pay to fill in the pool hole - at a cost of $80,000 to $100,000 - while it was willing to foot other costs including interior maintenance, heating and lighting.

The club also has a $70,000 sprung floor it can install.

Based on other movement development centres in New Zealand, Ms Ashmole said only about 3 per cent of the use related to competitive gymnastics, with the rest being movement development classes for anyone from 3 months upwards.

Gymsports was the fifth-largest sport in New Zealand, Ms Ashmore said, but was primarily involved in development work for other sports and groups, including performing arts. In other centres, groups as diverse as hip-hop dancers, cheerleaders and snowboarders used the centres to perfect their skills. A foam pit would be included, giving athletes a safe facility to practice aerial moves.

South Canterbury Gymsport shares a facility but could not grow without its own complex where equipment could be left set up permanently, the council was told.

While the steering committee had spoken to several community groups, including the other two gym clubs in Timaru, it had not committed to the project because South Canterbury Gymsport had nothing concrete for it to commit on, Messrs Grave and Fridd said.

The club was confident those groups and others would come on board now the council had agreed to the Century Pool plans.

When put to the vote, councillors voted six-five in favour of filling the hole as long as South Canterbury Gymsport could prove it had community support for the project.

Voting for were councillors Hamish Fraser, Steve Earnshaw, Tracy Tierney, Jo Taylor, Damon Odey and mayor Janie Annear.

Voting against were councillors Richard Lyon, Terry Kennedy, Kerry Stevens, Jane Coughlan and Pat Mulvey.

Council property manager Matt Ambler said it would cost more to demolish the building than it would to fill in the hole. The building was in good condition and any repairs required were of a minor nature.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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