Since I have been in Parliament I have delivered over 60 projects across Auckland central. This year I thought very carefully about the 23 projects that I could commit to. Most things that I have done in Parliament that I am really proud of have been hard, at times noisy and have required real commitment from the community.
The Waiheke community/school pool is a project I believe in. It will be hard. I know the local board and other groups have done a huge amount of work. The reports that have seen indicate a 6 lane pool (could be larger) that is heated could cost anywhere from $1.8 million. I realise this figure could change depending on the model and location chosen.
It is my view that it will need to be able to be accessed by both the community and school children as this makes sense to ensure the wider community benefits and a sustainable operating model.
The reason I believe in this project is that I have met many parents who have to travel into central Auckland for their children to swim. I also meet many other residents’ particularly elderly people for which this is a project they really care about.
I know this will be hard project because there is no way people can afford additional rates.
I have said that in my view there will need be a significant amount of philanthropic funding. There are a number of trusts which provide funding for these community projects. I do believe that depending on what location is chosen there may need to be a contribution via land or resource from the government and I will be advocating for that.
The long term operational model will also be key as we will need to ensure low overheads to ensure it is sustainable. There is some evidence that other community pools have operated at low costs depending on the community support.
One of the things that will need to be considered is the ownership and it may be that the community need to set up a trust to ensure wide access and ongoing community support.
I am open minded but I am throwing my support behind this project. I have a record on projects like the Conservation Park for Barrier of making hard things happen. Waiheke can make this happen and it will be great for all residents. I hope I have the opportunity to be the local MP and help Waiheke deliver this.
Although this Local Board had amassed well over $1 million dollars by stopping or deferring many other community projects to pay for a school pool this money, as I predicted, has been sucked back into Council coffers and the Board has lost our money forever.
Nikki will find out the hard way that working alongside this 'Green' Board is the kiss of death. Go it alone Nikki, find the land, the philanthropic funding for ongoing costs and building, and you will have earned Waiheke's vote again in the next election.