Council told ‘do it once, do it right’ for Cambridge pool

20 April 2017

Community feedback has prompted a rethink on the redevelopment of Cambridge’s swimming pool.

Waipa District Council has budgeted $9.9 million to upgrade the existing outdoor pool, build a new 10-lane indoor pool and learner’s pool. The new facility is due to open in 2019.

But Cambridge’s rapid growth, plus community feedback, has encouraged Council to consider expanding the pool complex and adding a hydrotherapy pool, spa and sauna, children’s splash pad, community room and additional seating. None were included in the original scope. The revised cost also allows for car-parking and landscaping.

All up the revised project would cost $16.5 million – an increase of $6.6 million on what was originally proposed. If it went ahead, Cambridge and Maungatautari ward ratepayers would largely foot the bill via an extra $24 per year (maximum) on their rates, on top of what had already been projected. Ratepayers across the rest of the Waipa district would also contribute, but only at levels originally indicated.

Mayor Jim Mylchreest said Council was “100 per cent” committed to a better pool for Cambridge but wanted to do the job properly.

"We’ve had two clear messages from the community. The first has been to simply ‘get on with it’. People are sick of waiting,” he said.

“But we’ve also been told to ‘do the job once and do it right’. Given the huge growth projected for Cambridge, I believe we do have an obligation to think ahead and make sure the new facility can go the distance and last for 40 – 50 years.”

Community groups, including health groups, have pushed for new features to be included. A hydrotherapy pool would help people with mobility challenges and cater for Cambridge’s growing number of older people, the mayor said.

“I don’t think any of these features are unreasonable and in fact, given Cambridge’s growing population, they are quite sensible in terms of future-proofing the facility. But they come at a cost, including an ongoing cost to operate a bigger facility. Before a decision is made, we need to be sure the community is willing to pay that cost.”

Any new pool complex would be funded by a mixture of loans, property sales, development contributions and fund-raising. Already $900,000 in fundraising has been secured. To pay for the expanded $16.5 million complex, Council would need to borrow $7.9 million to be paid off over 30 years. This compares to $4.6 million which would need to be borrowed under the original scope.

Cambridge’s pool will be discussed at a public Council meeting next Wednesday (April 26).   Elected members will be asked to approve a formal community consultation programme around the revised scope and costs. The consultation is required by law.

Any decision on the pool scope will not be made until June.

Media enquiries, contact Natalie Palmer 027 345 7602

Page reviewed: 21 Apr 2017 9:23am