Will Waingaro Hot Springs be forced to close?

HARRY PEARL
Last updated 08:30 11/01/2014
Waingaro Hot Springs
Fairfax NZ

SAFETY CONCERNS: The Waingaro Hot Springs in 2008.

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Waikato's Waingaro Hot Springs may close over concerns for public safety.

The Waikato District Council has served notice on the operators of the hot springs, near Ngaruawahia, in relation to dangerous buildings, citing the Building Act 2004.

The land at the hot springs is owned by the district council, but leased to Chuhar and Amro Singh, who own all of the buildings and facilities on-site.

Last month, the Singhs were served with notices relating to the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 and clauses of the New Zealand Building Code.

Fencing was then erected to isolate sections of the facility deemed unsafe or which could pose a risk to the public and staff, including the hot water bore, speed slide, hydro slide and main swimming pool.

District council chief executive Gavin Ion said the safety of the community was paramount and it was now at the discretion of the Singhs as to whether they would remain open or not, given many of their facilities could now not be used.

"Council has a responsibility to ensure the facilities operating in our district, either private entities or council-owned, are maintained to a high standard and meet the necessary health and safety requirements," he said.

"In this particular case council is concerned the tenant hasn't met their health and safety obligations and there is a high risk the public could be placed in a dangerous situation."

When contacted by the Waikato Times yesterday, Amro Singh shouted down the phone that she would not comment on the matter.

She said the business was still open and refused to say whether they planned to close.

This is not the first time the Singhs have found themselves in hot water.

In 2011 the Advertising Standards Authority censured the owners for showing 20-year-old footage in a television advertisement.

A customer complained and said the current pools complex bore little resemblance to footage screened in its television advertising. The authority upheld the complaint.

Complainant J Lochead-MacMillan said that when they visited the complex the bumper boats pool was empty, the main pool had an "algae green hue" and the water slide was not operational.

"It was so bad. I paid to go in and suffered a child screaming because we left without dipping a toe in the water.

"They have the same out-of-date photos on their website. It's scruffy, dirty and really run-down . . . nothing like their adverts . . ."

Back in 2009 the Singhs also had to respond to claims that the hot pools were filthy and should be shut down.

On that occasion a Waikato District Council report into the claims found that although the complex is dated, it was not a health risk.

Lloyd Whalley of the nearby Waingaro Hotel said the most recent problems at the hot springs had affected the hotel's business.

However, it was still trading and he supported the council's action.

Mr Whalley and Mary Harris sub-lease the building from the Singhs and run it as a separate business.

They were disappointed the Singhs had not communicated with them about the situation at the hot springs.

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But they said their hotel still had great local support and attracted many passers-by. 

IN HOT WATER:

Deemed to be dangerous by the Waikato District Council:

Hydro slide and hydro speed slide

main pool

staff accommodation

reception kiosk

utilities block

hot water bore shed and pump room

female toilet

swing

slide

concrete steps to powered camp sites

access driveway

- Waikato Times

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