Cutting through the usual verbiage we get to a few salient points:
- It will cost a minimum of $3.18 million plus GST to construct the Report’s recommendation of an enclosed 900sqm heated pool. This figure does not take into account the additional costs of building on Waiheke. So you can immediately add a minimum of 20% for building costs alone because of the costs of transportation. That means the construction cost is more likely to be around $4 million.
- The operating costs are predicted to be “approximately $552,000” a year.
- The Ministry of Education’s contribution would be to provide the land.
- Day to day management would be out-sourced to an off-island group with Auckland Council (that is you and me, the ratepayers of Waiheke) expected to pick up the tab.
- Auckland Council (that’s the ratepayers again) would have to subsidise both the capital and operational costs because it is unlikely a commercial sponsor would be found, given the estimated annual loss of running the pool of over $100,000.
- The only method of controlling operating costs would be by ‘limiting full casual access hours to the public’.
Because, aren’t they missing something?
Auckland Council’s own community pool feasibility study, commissioned by the first Waiheke Local Board (2010-2013) states right at the beginning:
“Water supply, management and disposal are key factors to support an aquatic facility on Waiheke. These have been prioritised for consideration as they become the key drivers for the viability of a facility, the requirements for operations and to enable the prerequisites for consent to be met”
There then follows a lengthy examination of the water requirements including rainwater collection tanks, ground water availability, sewerage system, backwash to disposal field, or containment tanks if the water is to be disposed to sea - all of which need to be consented.
“A public pool on Waiheke Island requires two separate wastewater treatment systems to deal with
- Pool visitor and staff facilities including toilets and showers and
- Swimming pool filtration system backwash water
How APR could have written an over 100 page Report and not paid attention to this major consideration beggars belief.
Water management is only the first major stumbling block. The second will be the lack of car parking. The APR report acknowledges that no such provision has been taken into account. Maybe because they know that school use will be prevalent and the rest of the community come a poor second.
There is an upfront warning contained in the APR Report that because the proposed pool would be on school grounds, public access can be denied by the schools. That being the case, I can see no reason why ratepayers should have to pay even one cent towards it. It is not the ratepayers’ responsibility to provide school children with a swimming pool. Not even with the promise of occasional access, if or when the school deems it acceptable. If the spectre of ‘stranger danger’ was sufficient to seriously curtail public access to the school gym/Waiheke Recreation Centre then it will be doubly so in a swimming pool scenario.
Neither the schools nor the Waiheke Local Board have the money for a school pool. Neither does Auckland Council according to Mayor Len Brown. Furthermore, the ratepayer should not be expected to pick up the tab for any community facility that will only be available to them on a limited basis, if any.
As I said in a previous blog, the schools are not in the business of running a pool and don’t wish to do so.
This Local Board has already wasted $25,000 of ratepayers’ money on the APR Report. What is even more irresponsible is that they have now prematurely allocated a further $25,000 for ‘sketches and drawings’ for a ‘pool adjacent to the Waiheke Recreation Centre’ which is on High School land – access to which the public can be denied.
This is just another example of the way this Local Board is wasting public money. Spending it willy-nilly as though it was their own little slush fund. Imagine just how much they would squander if they were ever allowed to ‘go it alone’ and form a Waiheke Republic of which they were the bosses. Scary thought!
It’s time to pull the plug on his continuing waste of ratepayers money. It’s time to pull the plug on this Board.