So, logic has prevailed. Well done Waiheke. The new school pool idea is dead in the water. It simply would not have delivered the requirements of a true Waiheke pool, and the community are to be congratulated for recognising this.
So too are Becs Ballard and Paul Walden. They have made this a major issue and the island has focussed on it.
A community pool will benefit Waiheke enormously - I think everyone is agreement on this.
So let's now unite, and as we know what we want, let's make it happen. Forget time frames, let's just get on with it.
The model is simple: a junior learning pool, and an all in 50m 8/10 lance pool - covered, heated and staffed. With a shop and a cafe. A true community facility.
The location? Onetangi Sports Park, of course. It enhances the village green concept, is central, the land is available, and importantly, as it will be a facility for all the sports groups and others who use the park, will likely encourage those groups to minimise the expenditure of allocated funds so that there will be some left in the kitty to go towards the pool costs.
There are of course some objections to this site. Let's unite and through strength of unity overcome them. Impossible is nothing. Having agreed on this, we can accurately cost construction and operation.
There are three avenues for funding construction:
1. Auckland Council
2. Naming rights sponsor
3. The wealthy of Waiheke
I am sure that a proper, well presented plan supported by the entire community could persuade some of our richer residents, and perhaps Fullers to come to the party.
And if say 75% of the costs are covered from these angles, it will be an easy decision for Auckland Council to bump us up the priority list and provide the balance.
We know from many pools around the country that operational costs can be covered by franchises and concessions to operators. We work out a model, then put it out to tender.
Given the enthusiasm for such a facility, and the tremendous use it will get if done properly, potential operators will be falling over themselves to bid for the contract.
And in due course we will have what we want - a true, sustainable community swimming facility to meet the needs of present and future generations of Waiheke.
If that sounds glib, well, just remember, most things in life that do not happen, fail because people focus on the problems rather than the solutions. This can be done, and if we want it badly enough, it will be done.
Time to stand up, people of Waiheke, and show if your glass is half full or half empty!