Wary council waters down promise to part-fund pools

By Peter de Graaf

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Kaitaia pools. Photo / Petrina Hodgson
Kaitaia pools. Photo / Petrina Hodgson

Worries about future costs of fixing run-down infrastructure have prompted the Far North District Council to water down its commitment to future public pool projects.

A number of Far North towns, particularly Kerikeri and Kaitaia, are pushing for indoor swimming pools. Councillors had been due to pass a resolution at Thursday's meeting promising to contribute up to 33 per cent of the cost as long as the community raised the other two-thirds.

However, recent revelations about the poor state of much Far North infrastructure - and uncertainty around how much it will cost to fix - have made councillors nervous about promising funding.

Mayor John Carter said the council was "absolutely supportive" of community-driven pool projects but needed to err on the side of caution.

"It would be unfortunate if we passed a resolution we couldn't fulfil," he said.

Councillors decided to consider every project on its merits and tweaked the wording of the resolution to say the council may provide up to 33 per cent of the total cost.

If the pool projects go ahead the council share of funding will come from a targeted rate paid by local residents. Operational costs could be subsidised by ward rates.

The Advocate revealed last week that Kaitaia's sewerage system is in such a poor state it is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars to stop it overflowing in every storm. One outlet alone, on Bank St, overflowed 35 times in 2013. Many roads, water schemes and community halls are in a similarly poor state.

- Northern Advocate

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