The city of Napier has some great buildings and fine sporting facilities along with excellent cycle trails and a Marine Parade which is getting more picturesque by the day.

Some nice gardens and recreational parks too.

But for a spot which embraces summer more than most, the swimming facilities are not quite up to scratch.

That has again been borne out by the Napier City Council now looking to extend the opening hours of the Napier Aquatic Centre because there simply is not enough room there to cater for demand, given that swim clubs and schools book space, and fair enough too.


People need to have a spot to swim ... either recreationally or for learning.

The Ocean Spa is a smart and very fine spot but it is limited in size and with a family pass of two adults and two kids coming in at $30 it could tend to get a bit costly for many, especially if they wanted to get a few icecreams and maybe a cold drink or two while enjoying a splashy day out.

Few schools now have pools, given the cost coupled with an apparent reluctance of governmental bodies to assist with maintenance funds, so swimming sites, and more than just modest ones, should be right up there on the city facilities list.

There used to be a great weekend oasis called the Olympic Pools over in Onekawa and they drew crowds - constantly.

They also drew schools for their swimming sports.

But it came to pass one day that it was decreed the site needed too much work to repair and maintain.

So it was farewell to the place where there was once a great outdoor water slide, diving pools, paddling pool areas and a large laned pool, and picnicking space.

There was room for hundreds and hundreds of people.

Today it has a few water fountains - which really don't cut it.

Wander along the parade on a hot day and watch the kids playing in the "paddling pools" of the aquarium surroundings and the Spirit of Napier.

I think that says a lot ... there are no free public paddling pools anymore.

Some may argue the cost of creating a great aquatic complex would be excessive ... but hey, it would get used a lot more than McLean Park, one of the city's unofficial water features.