Plans to build a $7 million swimming pool complex in Lower Hutt look set to be shelved in favour of upgrading Petone’s existing outdoor swimming pool. Hutt City Council has been considering whether to renovate the McKenzie Pool in Udy St or to build a new complex at Hikoikoi Reserve.
The council’s leisure active manager, Marcus Sherwood, said he expected the finance and audit committee to agree at a meeting last night to a recommendation to upgrade the existing pool. He said the economic climate meant the returns on building a new complex were “not as certain” as the council would like. Council documents say the new “destination spa and gym complex” would have been a regional drawcard, attracting visitors from out of town and generating better returns than the existing pool, which loses about $155,000 a year. Mr Sherwood said cost was also a major factor behind the recommendation, with the estimated upgrade cost of $1.4 million being far below building a new centre. He expected the community to support upgrading the existing pool, particularly as it was within walking distance of local schools.
I am quite convince that there are megalomaniac tendencies in all council employees when it comes to property development. The backstory of this community pool is that the Petone people, schools and users spoke strongly that they did not want a new developement located at Hikoikoi Reserve or any of the other alternatives. The best option for the majority of users was the redevelopment of the current pool. Thank goodness common sense has prevailed, and this is going to occur. It does remind me of the Eastbourne Bus Barn redevelopment, which I live in hope will be stopped, even though the process is far advanced.
The McKenzie Pool would open on November 21, and upgrade work would not affect this season’s opening hours.