Twenty extra car parks at the Caroline Bay Aquatic Centre have been proposed.
The extra parks, which would cost $200,000, were yesterday added to the Timaru District Council's draft budget.
District councillors agreed to the proposal at yesterday's draft annual plan meeting.
Cr Steve Wills said the project was essential, as traffic became particularly dicey during peak periods at the pool.
"Yes, there's a cost associated, but it's also a safety issue," he said.
"You see the frustration - people drive to a park like absolute idiots. Having more parks will limit the potential for accidents."
Currently, there were 76 car parks within the CBay complex.
District services manager Ashley Harper told the councillors that there had been frustration with the lack of parking.
"Surveys show that the peak demand was greater than supply. There was concern from neighbours, there's a lot of activity during the learn to swim class, and some people park near or across homeowners' driveways," he said.
Cr Tracey Tierney said the original parking plan for the CBay site was "reasonably conservative".
"Which is understandable, we didn't know what the level of activity would be.
"The high use of the pool is a positive thing, but the lack of parking is a major cause of dissatisfaction with many customers. It could be potentially sending people away."
Cr Wills queried whether the upgrade could be done on time and within the proposed budget.
"I don't want to see a blow-out here," he said.
However, Mr Harper said the amount was enough.
"We can do it. It might be tight, but I'm sure we can find some efficiencies. It's clearly something that needs to be done."
The council also agreed to set aside an extra $12,000 for new inflatable equipment and toys for the centre.
However, it is not expected either proposal would lead to an increase in the targeted aquatic centre rate ($106 per property per year), as the budget proposes increasing user charges by 50 cents for adult admission.
The draft annual plan will go out for public comment next month.
- The Timaru Herald