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High demand for pool space prompts review

Mar 15th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Swimming-20Pool-20Picture_1

IMAGE: www.co.washington.or.us

WELLINGTON’S five public indoor pools are all finding it difficult to meet demand at peak times.

Wellington City Council’s recreation and sport facility development manager Jamie Delich says: “The two summer outdoor pools are also experiencing overcrowding at similar times – but only when the weather is at its best.”

Last year councillors agreed to allocate $11 million to pool development in the city over the next 10 years.

Councillor Celia Wade-Brown says that part of the budget is likely to go into refurbishing school pools for the first time.

She says that a system must be worked out so that school pools can be made available to others outside school hours so the public can also benefit from the pool upgrades.

“Fewer drownings and more fitness are essential in this maritime capital,” she says.

Ms Wade-Brown says that she would like to maximise the use of existing resources to save energy time and money.

Wellington City Council recreation manager Julian Todd says in a statement that the decline in school pools in the city has also contributed to ever-increasing demand for the city’s pool space.

“In the 1980s, there were 83 schools in Wellington – 48 of which had a pool… Now just 22 school pools are left and only 11 are in use,” he says.

Fifty schools in Wellington use public rather than school pools.

This puts pressure on public swimming pools and on schools, as they face greater costs for transport and can’t afford the time away from the classroom, he says.

This year, councillors are inviting the public to voice their opinion on fair use of pool space.

Those interested in commenting should visit the council website and make a submission via the Have Your Say section, which will be made available from early April through to mid May.

The council has also proposed that development work on some pools be completed over the next four years. Proposals include:

  • installation of a new teaching pool at the Karori Pool
  •  a new teaching and hydrotherapy pool and water-play area at Keith Spry Pool, Johnsonville
  •  a hydrotherapy pool at the Wellington Aquatic Centre
  • a new roof and insulation for Tawa Pool and a retractable roof at Thorndon Summer Pool.

National research conducted by Nielsen in 2008 found that many schools were giving less priority to swimming classes than in the past due to financial and infrastructure limits.

It was found that only one in five 10-year-olds could swim 200m – the benchmark that Water Safety New Zealand considers necessary to swim and survive in the water.

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is a Whitireia Journalism student. She is multilingualled and previously studied religion at Victoria University. She has a keen interest in music, fashion and all things trashy.
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