A stony silence from Waiheke Local Board members greeted a presentation from the public at last night’s local board meeting that the Oneroa Bowling Club site at Alison Park would be best for a community pool. The presenter was concerned that access for the community would not be a reality if the pool was built on Ministry of Education land.
Certainly the bowling club site at Alison Park has merit. It’s a recreation reserve, is large enough to accommodate the necessary disposal fields, has a bore and was one of 5 potential sites listed in the $30k Feasibility Study completed only last July and approved in September 2013. It’s handy to bus routes and accessible to all.
But why the stony silence? Maybe it’s because a deal has already been done behind closed doors with the schools. The Board has signalled loud and clear it is only willing to consider a pool on school grounds. It has done so by gifting a further $25,000 of ratepayers money to the schools (see schools win rates budget) to progress a school pool. This despite the fact that the Local Board is supposed to be getting feedback from the public during its public submissions period for the Draft Annual Plan before a decision is made.
It’s not like we haven’t been here before. Waiheke Island Indoor Swimming Pool Committee and Auckland City Council formed a Facilities Partnership in 2005 for a pool sited at Waiheke High School with confirmed funding of $1.6 million towards development of an indoor swimming pool complex at the High School. An indoor pool was identified as the only option for community use such as aquarobics, lap swimming and relaxation. However, the money was dependent on financial support from the Ministry of Education. This was not forthcoming, the project was not progressed, and the $1.6 million went back into Council coffers.
It looks like the Board has decided to go it alone. The proposed ‘model’ doing the rounds is little more than a rebuild of the Te Huruhi open-air facility. The $30k Feasibility Study identified Te Huruhi School as a site with significant drawbacks for public use. There are wastewater disposal concerns at any site within the High School because of the nearby 50 year coastal erosion zone.
Nothing public has yet been heard from either the School Boards or the Ministry of Education.
But the real elephant in the room is who is going to pay for the ongoing maintenance and operating costs? Other Local Boards have target rated their ratepayers.
Is this what over-burdened Waiheke ratepayer can expect from this local board for a SCHOOL pool the majority of ratepayers will never use?
Submit for a community pool and against a swimming pool on Ministry of Education land now by following this link submit against this proposal