Pool has funding needs now too

Sarah Dixon

COLUMN

Re: Further engagement on pool project critical, March 6 letter.

Stefan Pishief of Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti supports further consultation and writes, “. . . when a peer review is carried out using national experts (and it was great that this due diligence was done), then we can’t afford to ignore the red flags that were raised”.

If the national experts had visited the Olympic Pools during peak lap swimming they would have found it difficult to find a lane to swim in. They would have seen walkers as well as swimmers in the water. If they had visited during school hours, several days a week there would have been up to 600 school kids learning water safety and having fun. Early in the morning they would have seen competitive swimming medal aspirants training long course. During competitions they would have learned how the pool works for that. During one of our frequent triathlons they would have seen another community use in process.

On a Wednesday morning they would have heard music and seen big smiles in the aqua-aerobics class.

When families are barbecuing, or on any hot day, the outside pool is full of kids having fun under the watchful eyes of friendly lifeguards. Inside, when the pool is divided, children play on an inflated climbing form.

Before work on summer mornings, when the sun warms the outside pool, people who don’t swim inside in chlorine fumes charge up and down lane lines.

From inside the spa room we hear laughter and splashing as little ones have lessons.

It has been more than 10 years since the decision was first considered to upgrade the Olympic Pool Complex, which was a gift from the Gisborne community more than a half century ago.

Because the upgrade was contemplated, maintenance funds have diminished to less than bare essentials. Changing rooms look like a war zone. The spa facility is in dire need of a redesign and rebuild.

All staff members go out of their way all day to make everyone feel welcome and valued. I don’t know for sure, but I’m betting those surf lifesaving competitors who regularly bring back gold from Mount Maunganui learned to swim so well in our Olympic pool.

Last year I contacted council members by e-mail. Andy Cranston met me at the pool and we walked around talking about problems from my viewpoint. Staff meetings were held. A committee was formed.

No other people I’ve seen in the water were involved. I requested another swimmer of long standing be invited to join the committee, and that did not occur.

While I hoped we might address current funding needs, the subject was upgrade. Three alternatives, with professional illustrations, were presented and the committee voted on which was preferable.

Missing a meeting while I was in California, I researched pools there and sent website links illustrating fabulous multi-purpose aquatic complexes in Southern California.

I’m overjoyed to know the District Council plans to “carry out further public engagement” to find out what’s wanted.

As just one of many who enjoy our Olympic Pool Complex, I hope more views will be heard before alternatives are presented. And knowing ground for the redevelopment will probably not be broken for years, I would like to see attention to ongoing maintenance needs that are not being met.

Re: Further engagement on pool project critical, March 6 letter.

Stefan Pishief of Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti supports further consultation and writes, “. . . when a peer review is carried out using national experts (and it was great that this due diligence was done), then we can’t afford to ignore the red flags that were raised”.

If the national experts had visited the Olympic Pools during peak lap swimming they would have found it difficult to find a lane to swim in. They would have seen walkers as well as swimmers in the water. If they had visited during school hours, several days a week there would have been up to 600 school kids learning water safety and having fun. Early in the morning they would have seen competitive swimming medal aspirants training long course. During competitions they would have learned how the pool works for that. During one of our frequent triathlons they would have seen another community use in process.

On a Wednesday morning they would have heard music and seen big smiles in the aqua-aerobics class.

When families are barbecuing, or on any hot day, the outside pool is full of kids having fun under the watchful eyes of friendly lifeguards. Inside, when the pool is divided, children play on an inflated climbing form.

Before work on summer mornings, when the sun warms the outside pool, people who don’t swim inside in chlorine fumes charge up and down lane lines.

From inside the spa room we hear laughter and splashing as little ones have lessons.

It has been more than 10 years since the decision was first considered to upgrade the Olympic Pool Complex, which was a gift from the Gisborne community more than a half century ago.

Because the upgrade was contemplated, maintenance funds have diminished to less than bare essentials. Changing rooms look like a war zone. The spa facility is in dire need of a redesign and rebuild.

All staff members go out of their way all day to make everyone feel welcome and valued. I don’t know for sure, but I’m betting those surf lifesaving competitors who regularly bring back gold from Mount Maunganui learned to swim so well in our Olympic pool.

Last year I contacted council members by e-mail. Andy Cranston met me at the pool and we walked around talking about problems from my viewpoint. Staff meetings were held. A committee was formed.

No other people I’ve seen in the water were involved. I requested another swimmer of long standing be invited to join the committee, and that did not occur.

While I hoped we might address current funding needs, the subject was upgrade. Three alternatives, with professional illustrations, were presented and the committee voted on which was preferable.

Missing a meeting while I was in California, I researched pools there and sent website links illustrating fabulous multi-purpose aquatic complexes in Southern California.

I’m overjoyed to know the District Council plans to “carry out further public engagement” to find out what’s wanted.

As just one of many who enjoy our Olympic Pool Complex, I hope more views will be heard before alternatives are presented. And knowing ground for the redevelopment will probably not be broken for years, I would like to see attention to ongoing maintenance needs that are not being met.

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Peter Jones - 10 days ago
Don't change anything. Just fix it.

G R Webb - 9 days ago
You will never get much traction on fixing the pool until there is a willingness by staff.