Pool closure 'not end of the road'

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A central part of Taradale Primary School and the wider community's swimming history is set to close in December because of what engineering reports have deemed are structural risks.

The Greendale pool complex in Ngarimu Cres, which is also the base of the Greendale Swim Club which was set up in 1957 by a coach and teacher at the school, Tom Harvey, has been a fixture on the swimming landscape since the 1940s when it was built.

It is operated by the club which has a long-term lease from the school.

While recent remedial work had been carried out to improve safety and extend the life of the building, it would not be long term.

It had been assessed by engineers and some parts were found to be structurally at risk.
Taradale Primary School then moved to commission an initial assessment of options for reopening the pool.

That assessment found that repairs to the existing structure were not practical and the cost of a rebuild would likely exceed $2 million which would include necessary improvements to the filtration system and related facilities.

But, as Taradale Primary School principal Marty Hantz and Greendale Swim Club committee member David Gray made clear, it was far from the end of the road for what Mr Hantz described as "an icon in a way".

Until December the pool would remain open as it was still deemed safe to use until then - the closing date is part of the formal engineering regulations laid out.

He described the school staff members who had sparked its construction as visionaries and said he would be devastated if it closed and stayed closed.

"But there is a lot of water to go under the bridge yet," he said, adding that the school and the club would be staging a meeting in about a fortnight's time to gauge public feeling and potential support to ensure the pool could be upgraded and re-opened.

And Mr Gray said while the pool would close its doors in December it would not spell the end of the club.

"As a club we are going to keep going and in the short term we will seek alternative lane space somewhere else."

He said while there were clearly hurdles to clear he was confident with community support and resolve the pool complex could eventually be saved.

"We just have to let this sink in - there will likely be some anger and some tears but this [save the pool] can be done."

Mr Hantz agreed, saying it was sad the pool would have to close in December but it did create the opportunity to find a way to set in place a remedial programme to bring it up to 21st-century standards.


"We have to get the initial sadness out of the way and take a good close look at it because this is a great community here and they can make it happen."

Both conceded it would not be easy and were keen to gauge public reaction at the meeting, for which a definite date would be announced soon.

"The people who built this pool created a great legacy for us - and the kids here swim like fish because the Greendale coaches are outstanding."

He said wherever Greendale goes "we go too".

The Napier City Council will be working in with the club to see how its swimming programmes can be integrated into the Napier Aquatic Centre in Onekawa after the closure.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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