The Hamilton municipal pool will be closed for up to a year in what opponents describe as a "death sentence", dreams of a new indoor community sports centre in the city have been shattered and the YMCA and three blocks of pensioner flats will be sold.
The city council yesterday sacrificed some big projects in favour of staying focused on slashing the city's debt as it looks to sign off its long-term plan by the end of the week. But in an unexpected move it will debate again on Friday removing fluoride from the city's water supply at a saving of $45,000 a year despite last year deciding to hold a referendum on the issue at the next election.
The neglected and leaky municipal pool will remain closed for up to a year while the council spends $50,000 investigating repair work needed. Swimming Waikato has that time to put together a business case on whether the pool's long-term future is viable under a trust.
No extra money is in the budget for the pool, including future remedial work estimated at $475,000 or operating costs, which councillors pushing for the pool to remain open labelled "fiscally irresponsible".
Councillor Ewan Wilson said closing the pool for a year was a "death sentence", while Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman said the pool was "heritage but dilapidated" and the council needed to explore all its options.
The scaled-back proposal from the Hamilton Community Indoor Recreation Centre for a new three-court indoor facility was rejected because the council didn't have $2 million for capital costs and $100,000 for an annual operating grant.
Councillors said it was disappointing because there was a desperate need for indoor sporting facilities but they were "broke".
The YMCA on Pembroke St will also be put on the block but in a tight 7-6 vote it was decided to sell the three titles, valued at between $2 million and $3 million, to buyers for recreational and related purposes only.
Councillor Dave Macpherson said it would be "unwise" to sell to anyone as it would lead to a reduction in the city's indoor courts.
"It flies in the face of advice ... that we need more space not less," said Mr Macpherson.
However, the city's three pensioner housing blocks deemed "not fit for purpose" will be sold on the open market to get the best price.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker supported the decision to sell the Johnson St, Ascot Reid Ryan and River Rd flats to the highest bidder but the council would also consider interest from sympathetic buyers.
Councillor Roger Hennebry argued the council wouldn't spend $40,000 to $50,000 a year on providing aged housing but supported spending a combined $13 million topping up Claudelands Event Centre and the Waikato Stadium in the next few years.
Meanwhile, the council voted unanimously to retain its remaining 21 pensioner housing complexes and work with the church groups and social agencies who lobbied the council not to sell them.
* Gully restoration programme - $45,000.
* Investigate repairs needed at Hamilton Municipal Pool - $50,000.
* Remaining 21 pensioner housing blocks to be retained.
* Hamilton Indoor Community Recreation Centre - saving $2 million plus $100,000 a year operating costs.
* Upgrade to the Hamilton Municipal Pool to comply with water standards - saving $475,000.
* Johnson St, Ascot Reid Ryan and River Rd flats to be sold to highest bidder - saving estimated $3 million.
* YMCA on Pembroke St to be sold for recreation and associated use - saving estimated $3 million.
Still to be debated
* Removing fluoride from the city water - saving $45,000 a year.