New pool tipped for city
Major aquatic centre proposed for city's northeastRACHEL THOMAS
Rototuna's exploding population could see a major Baywave-type aquatic facility built near land earmarked for two new schools.
But this could come at the expense of closing down for good Hamilton's historic Municipal Pools.
A report released last week by Sport Waikato championed the need for long-term pool, leisure and sporting facilities in Hamilton and the wider Waikato, with a focus on gaps in Hamilton's burgeoning northeast.
Sport Waikato chief executive Matthew Cooper likened the proposed aquatic centre facility to Baywave, Mt Maunganui's multi-pool and hydroslide leisure centre, which is said to attract 230,000 visitors each year.
"We think Rototuna is exploding in population and one thing we need to make sure of is that we're providing facilities for the community," Cooper said.
"If you look around New Zealand and I use the Mt Maunganui example, Rototuna is an area that does lack a quality facility for its community."
Sport Waikato proposed Hamilton City Council close the Municipal Pools, citing capital would be better invested in a new indoor pool complex in the northeast of the city.
The Municipal Pools are currently closed indefinitely due to major structural, filtration and pipe issues.
Sport Waikato suggested council develop a "new standard configuration indoor community pool" - to include a 25m lane pool, fun pool and learn-to-swim pool, plus possibly a hydrotherapy pool.
Baywave also includes a wave pool.
Cooper said a key point made in the report, titled the Waikato Sports Facility Plan Public Consultation Summary, is the need to work collaboratively with central government, local government and community clubs and groups.
Council has purchased 18.4 hectares of land for community facilities around Rototuna's town centre - including a library, community and aquatic centre and sports fields.
Lance Vervoort, council's community services general manager confirmed the land, off North City Rd, adjacent to the Hamilton Christian School, is intended for community facilities such as a sports park, aquatic facility and library.
He said council is currently assessing options for future aquatic facilities in Hamilton, though the need for swimming facilities, as well as affordability, must be weighed up against the infrastructural needs of the city during council's 2015-2025 10-year plan.
"The work we are carrying out will identify the benefits, costs and challenges with each option, which include a new pool and the upgrade of some current pools. A possible new pool in Rototuna is one of several options."
Vervoort said the document gave councils in the region valuable, evidence-based guidance on what each community needed.
Cooper said the report is about smarter partnerships.
"Perhaps an aquatic facility targeting the northeast is a smart way to go, because we can plan, we can have various stakeholders involved and that to me is a smart approach for potential future facilities," Cooper said.
Another recommendation is for a 25m community indoor pool for Cambridge once the aged existing 50m outdoor pool meets its watery grave.
Mayor of Waipa Jim Mylchreest said the report puts Waipa District Council in good stead for consulting with Cambridge residents.
"There is support for saving the old pool, which the community initially built, so there is public affection for that, but then there are others who would love a 365-day facility."
He understood a new pool would be intended mostly for local use and said Cambridge should focus on its the flourishing rowing, canoeing and cycling industries at an international level.
The report noted new facilities are all funding dependent and stressed the need to make best use of existing facilities.
"We know 10 to 12 basketball court spaces is a flooded market in New Zealand," Cooper said, "maybe Hamilton needs two fortified indoor community courts which would mean we could still get international events, we just play them in two different venues."
Hamilton Boys' High School recently unveiled a proposal for a $35m sports complex which could provide more community pool and sport space, but the project is due to take at least 10 years.
Plans show the complete centre would include a water-polo pool, an artificial football turf, indoor hockey facilities, cricket nets, a sprint training track and multi-use warm-up turf.
Principal Susan Hassell was confident there's demand in Hamilton for multiple new aquatic facilities, particularly one in Rototuna.
"That would reduce the pressure on that side, it wouldn't reduce the need down here. I think there's definitely room for both."
In regard to making use of existing resources across the city, Hassell said it made sense to work together.
"Schools have a huge resource base the community can tap into, and we are only using it for a short time of the day, even if one school is used as a base."
The report, funded by the Waikato Mayoral Forum and Sport NZ, is now out for consultation. Copies are available at sportwaikato.org.nz
SPORTS FACILITY PLAN
In the next three years, Sport Waikato would like to see:
A partnership developed to build aquatic and court facilities in Hamilton
Partners secured to build two 4-5 indoor court facilities in Hamilton
An indoor, 25m community pool built in Cambridge once the existing pool has reached the end of its useful life
- Waikato Times
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