Editorial: Getting the right feel

A project as large as a new aquatic centre is always going to have its teething problems, and some have emerged at CBay.

People have approached us with some issues, but we've also heard from those who think the new facility is excellent.

Most teething problems will be easily sorted, as staff learn how people are using the pool and how best to cater for everyone's needs.

A number of the comments we've received have been around a perception lifeguards have been over-zealous. This is tricky. Safety is crucial for staff, yet users, especially younger ones, just want to have fun. That involves splashing, chasing, jumping and diving - pushing the boundaries.

Staff may be setting a high benchmark to begin with, but perhaps more latitude is required. I'm aware of youngsters saying they already don't want to go back because they were stopped from doing so many things it was boring. One parent has likened it to a Nazi regime.

It seems particularly odd that no-one is allowed to dive off the diving board, which somewhere along the line has developed the name "bombing platform". In my youth, you were allowed to dive but not bomb.

It cost an extra $100,000 to increase the depth of the main pool specifically to include a diving board, but that seems something of a waste if you can only jump off a three metre platform feet first. Again, safety is important, but couldn't this be reviewed?

Good news is that the hydroslides will be operational in about a week. A tweak to the exit chutes to allow for better water recycling has been required.

Not so pretty is the appearance of a section of the wave ceiling, and the council is discussing this with the architect. It's not so pretty because the rest of the complex looks so good. Similarly, there are talks around how to fit in the one metre diving board.

That the number of pool users is on track with projections is obviously pleasing. You'd imagine that in the first week there'd be extra traffic with people wishing to have a look for the first time, but school holidays and summer weather will bring their own peaks.

All in all, it's great to have the complex finally open, and while there are teething issues they can be addressed. It is important that they are.

The experience of users has to be such that they are compelled to return, and tell their mates what a great place it is.

The Timaru Herald