A proposal to enclose the outdoor pool at the Whakatāne Aquatic and Fitness Centre will be
considered as part of the Whakatāne District Council’s 2019/20 Annual Plan, provided the necessary
external funding is secured to support the project. A final decision on the project would then be
made by Council elected members, based on community feedback and updated funding and cost
information.

Reporting to the Council’s Projects and Services Committee last week, Community Services General
Manager Mike Naude said the increasing demand for pool space was particularly intense during the
23-week period when the centre’s outdoor pool was closed during late-autumn and winter.
“As a result, the clubs relying on the facility face restrictions on the number of members they can
cater for and the experience provided for other pool users is also compromised during peak use
times,” he said. “A submission from the Whakatāne Swimming Club seeking the enclosure of the
outdoor pool was considered by the Council as part of the 2018-28 Long Term Plan consultation
process and a decision was made to conduct a feasibility study on the proposal.

“A study by APR Consultants has indicated that the most economic option would be to install a steel
frame structure clad with PVC fabric, with a solar heating system to reduce the cost of gas for water
heating.”

Mr Naude said a ‘worst case’ cost estimate for the project was just over $1 million, but savings could
be achieved through a competitive tendering process. Community funding agency support was
expected to contribute $800,000 towards the project cost, with the shortfall covered by loan-
funding. After allowing for expected revenue increases, additional operating costs were estimated at
$111,000 a year, including loan repayments, interest and depreciation.

“Operating costs would need to be managed by restricting access to the outdoor pool during the
normal autumn-winter closure period to clubs using the facility for training purposes, with each club
required to provide trained lifeguards, allowing Aquatic Centre staff involvement to be confined to
cleaning and servicing activities,” he added.

Committee members expressed some reservations about future revenue and operating cost
estimates, but adopted a recommendation to include the project in the next annual plan, subject to
confirmed support from external funding agencies.