New plans for Hastings pools

By Lawrence Gullery

A season pass and concession card valid for use at all public swimming pools in Hastings is one of nine initiatives being explored by the newly-formed governance group set up to manage the district's aquatic centres.

The group met for the first time in June to prioritise the nine areas which form a new aquatic services plan for Hastings District Council.

The council's community facilities manager Tanya Winter and pool managers were now working on a business plan for each of the nine initiatives and the results would be reported back to the governance group and the council later this year.

One of the nine in the aquatic service plan aimed to take a "one network approach" to run the district's six public pools.

It would aim to create a single organisation to develop, market and deliver services under one brand for the aquatic centres and their programmes. Fees and charges would be reviewed to make sure they were consistent across the network and there would be work on setting up a season pass and concession card, using electronic technology.

There would be a focus on public lane swimming which involved trialling earlier opening times in the weekends at Clive and Havelock North pools.

It would explore a public-private partnership with Hilton Brown Swimming to provide better access for people with disabilities to aquatic services in Havelock North.

There would also be work on opportunities for canoe polo to use Frimley and Havelock North pools to enable the sport to expand. The strategy said the trusts in charge of pools needed to develop "additional relationships" with major employers, health and fitness centre operators to increase patronage of programmes and lane swimming.

Work on upgrading four of Hastings' six public swimming pools, a project worth $5.5 million, started in June with the Havelock North Village Pool the first cab off the rank. Tenders for the upgrade closed in May and Hastings firm Pro-Structure was awarded the contract for the project worth $1.1 million.

It would include improvements to the filtration plant which will increase the water clarity, a major upgrade of the changing facilities, improved spectator facilities and changes which will enable easier access to the pool for people with mobility challenges.

Flaxmere Waterworld, Clive War Memorial Pool and Frimley Aquatic Centre were also in line for upgrades which became a priority after a review in 2009 found all four were aging and struggled to meet rigorous, modern compliance standards.

The council kept the price tag of the upgrade project to $5.5 million after deciding not to install special liners into the bottom of the pools, which would bump up the costs to about $8 million but extend the life of the pools.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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