John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

$500K upgrade for Mount Hot Pools


A $530,000 makeover has been proposed for the Mount Hot Pools in a bid to transform the attraction into a "must-visit" tourist destination.

Council-owned Bay Venues Ltd is seeking approval to invest in the modernisation following customer feedback that the pools were looking tired and out-of-date.

"Our aim is to develop the hot pools into a must visit place in New Zealand. What is impacting on our ability to attract more customers is the overall appeal of the venue."
Project manager Tina Harris-Ririnui

The refurbishment was one of a number of issues due to be debated this week by the council in the lead-up to finalising its 2016-17 Annual Plan.

Project manager Tina Harris-Ririnui said although the experience of soaking in the hot salt water pools was pleasant and relaxing, the facility needed to capitalise on its natural surroundings.

Other issues were that the reception area was dated and not customer friendly and the changing rooms did not reflect an upmarket facility.

"The proposal to upgrade the venue is aimed at addressing these issues and turning it into a truly iconic popular hot salt water venue Tauranga can be proud of," she said.

While visitors were positive about their pools experience, "significant feedback" was received about the venue's weaknesses including that the changing rooms were "cold and basic".

Visitors also wrote that while the location was idyllic, the facility itself did not capitalise on its wider natural surrounds.

A design brief has been drawn up to improve the overall look and feel of the hot pools, with work programmed to take 70 days starting in May. The pools would remain open wherever possible.

"Our aim is to develop the hot pools into a must visit place in New Zealand. What is impacting on our ability to attract more customers is the overall appeal of the venue."

A report from the Architectural Design Group described the entrance and reception as dark, non directional and visually unappealing.

The Mount Hot Pools. Photo/File
The Mount Hot Pools. Photo/File

The report said it was prone to overcrowding, with queues often extending out of the building.

It said the pool enclose lacked the feel expected of resorts, with too much concrete and too much of the colour blue.

Apart from the pools, there was no incentive to relax and enjoy the facility.

The design group recommended the use of colour to minimise the concrete look, with planting to blend with the background of Mauao, and clear finished hardwood furniture to soften the look.

The changing rooms were described as being dark and camping ground standard.

"We suggest a lime plaster finish to the existing concrete block walls, white painted ceilings, new clear-finished hardwood seats and changing benches with more privacy screening."

The group also recommended new themed graphics.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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