The vast majority of submissions made to the McKenzie Pool working group are in favour of the existing site in Udy St being redeveloped, an analysis of 500 of the 800 submissions shows.
Just on 56% of the submissions are in favour of developing the existing site, 26% support constructing a more sophisticated pool complex on a different site.
The working group met last week to discuss the two remaining swimming pool options: redeveloping the existing McKenzie Pool site (estimated cost $1.25 million) or building a leisure/spa complex on Hikoikoi Reserve on the foreshore in Petone ($6 million).
“By far the greater recommendation in the submissions is to keep the McKenzie pool site,” Cr Joy Baird, who chairs the group, says.
But public submissions are only “one input” into the decision making process, and they must be further analysed, she says.
The views of the people who made the submissions are dictated by the current usage, proximity and convenience of the McKenzie pool, she believes.
The group has requested information on where the people who made submissions come from – the Hutt or Petone, for example. They also want the projected running costs and expected patronage for the two options.
But Joan McGrath, principal of Sacred Heart School, and the Petone Schools Representative in the Working Group, is concerned the submissions will not be given the weight they deserve in the decision making process.
“My fear is that the council want an iconic site on the foreshore and will disregard all objections to achieve that.”
She says there is a “clear feeling” that the council is favouring the development of the ‘destination’ pool on the foreshore. Ms McGrath also believes the submitters, when voting for the more sophisticated site, were unaware it would be at the Hikoikoi site.
“I don’t think that was made clear,” she says.
Cr Baird says that even though the Hikoikoi site would be considerably more expensive, the council is leaning towards a ‘destination pool’.
“Hutt City doesn’t have a pool like that. Our pools are not very sophisticated.”
Current Council reference terms and reports here
Petone currently has the outdoor McKenzie Pool in Udy Street Petone. It was built in 1933 and is only open over summer for roughly 15 weeks.
A report in 2007 by the city council found it was in poor condition and needs roughly $900,000 worth of maintanence.
A working group was established to investigate a number of options and as councillors prepare for final debate on the 2009/2010 Community Plan, $1.25 million has been earmarked for this project to progress.
The latest report from the working group concludes there are only two realistic options:
Estimated cost of $1.3 million for an outdoor pool that would operate 22 weeks a year.
2. Start anew on Hikoikoi Reserve
Build a “leisure spa” on the reserve (which has not been costed) estimated to top $6million.
This option would include an indoor pool, gym, spa, toddlers pool and cafe.
Council officers have promoted the Hikoikoi Reserve as a regional facility that would attract people to Hutt City. The report said the reserve had many advantages including its size, proximity to a childrens playground, parking availability, room for expansion and proximity to a main arterial road. The report also suggested that the council stands a better chance of getting outside funding if it built a regional facility. The cost of this development could be offset partly by the sale of the McKenzie Pool site (est value $480,000). Also building on the reserve enables the current pool to used until project is completed.
A third site was being considered being the Settlers Muesum site. It has the advantage of proximity to the beach and a main road, and would return the building to its original purpose, supporting recreational activities on the beach. However several issues need to be considered carefully, the site is long and narrow, limited parking, high likelihood of opposition from residents concerned at the loss of a view, and the alterations to a heritage building. Given all of this it is not a likely contender.
In March, a working group of council staff, politicians and community representatives called for a business meeting to discuss further the available options and make some agreement on going forward on the project.
Several other options need to be investigated including Petone Rec, Weltec and the benefits to the principal users not being lost in any redevelopment