Further engagement on pool project critical

LETTER

Re: Council to drive pool revamp, March 1 story.

Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti commends the council for undertaking further public consultation over the Olympic Pool redevelopment.

We certainly don’t mind that the council rejected the proposal for our organisation to lead this engagement work. What matters to us is that informed conversations take place with our wider community about the concerns raised during the peer review process.

These conversations need to include what design modifications will address these concerns, and ensure the best possible outcome for our region.

Our offer to play a lead role in the engagement was simply an offer to help, given the importance of the issue at hand.

We are fully behind the redevelopment of the Olympic Pool. We understand the frustration that has built up over the many years the redevelopment has been discussed, and we can’t afford to let the pool complex collapse once maintenance costs get too high. Aquatic facilities provide a range of benefits and the Olympic Pool is a great community asset.

However, when a peer review is carried out using national aquatic experts (and it was great that this due diligence was done), then we can’t afford to ignore the red flags that were raised. Not when we are talking about a project of this scale that requires millions in funding.

I also doubt many funders would be comfortable supporting the project given the concerns expressed by industry experts.

That is why this further engagement, and consideration of different design modifications, is critical.

We also don’t see this causing unnecessary delay given that funding has not been raised to start the rebuild. It would be a different case if the diggers were poised ready to begin their work.

Ideally we would have expressed our concerns earlier, however, we have responded to new information as it has come through.

We will continue to offer what support we can to ensure Tairawhiti has a redeveloped, affordable Olympic Pool complex that meets the wider needs of our community.

Stefan Pishief

Chief executive, Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti

Re: Council to drive pool revamp, March 1 story.

Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti commends the council for undertaking further public consultation over the Olympic Pool redevelopment.

We certainly don’t mind that the council rejected the proposal for our organisation to lead this engagement work. What matters to us is that informed conversations take place with our wider community about the concerns raised during the peer review process.

These conversations need to include what design modifications will address these concerns, and ensure the best possible outcome for our region.

Our offer to play a lead role in the engagement was simply an offer to help, given the importance of the issue at hand.

We are fully behind the redevelopment of the Olympic Pool. We understand the frustration that has built up over the many years the redevelopment has been discussed, and we can’t afford to let the pool complex collapse once maintenance costs get too high. Aquatic facilities provide a range of benefits and the Olympic Pool is a great community asset.

However, when a peer review is carried out using national aquatic experts (and it was great that this due diligence was done), then we can’t afford to ignore the red flags that were raised. Not when we are talking about a project of this scale that requires millions in funding.

I also doubt many funders would be comfortable supporting the project given the concerns expressed by industry experts.

That is why this further engagement, and consideration of different design modifications, is critical.

We also don’t see this causing unnecessary delay given that funding has not been raised to start the rebuild. It would be a different case if the diggers were poised ready to begin their work.

Ideally we would have expressed our concerns earlier, however, we have responded to new information as it has come through.

We will continue to offer what support we can to ensure Tairawhiti has a redeveloped, affordable Olympic Pool complex that meets the wider needs of our community.

Stefan Pishief

Chief executive, Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti

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