Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Free ocean pool wanted for Mauao or Leisure Island

A Mount woman has set up a petition calling for an ocean pool to be placed at the base of Mauao or on Leisure Island.

Stephanie Bevington set up a petition on Wednesday for the ocean pool community project after jogging up and around Mauao.

"I came back down and had this idea; how cool would it be if we were to create a natural ocean pool that would be free for everybody to use," she told The Bay of Plenty Times.

People could use the pool as a place to relax, get together with friends and family and socialise to enjoy the beauty of the Mount, she said.

She set up the petition, Make Mount Maunganui ocean pool a reality, and posted her idea in the Mount Maunganui Notice Board Facebook group and the response had been overwhelming, she said.

"More people are pro than against the idea, and I have had over 900 people sign the petition now."

Ms Bevington said she thought the pool could be placed somewhere around the base of Mauao or Leisure Island.

Ms Bevington said she had approached the council with the idea but did not expect them to foot the bill.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said the premise sounded good but making the plan a reality was a different story.

"What is required is thought and money. It depends if you prefer a natural environment of foreshore, sand, rocks, beach, etc., or if you like concrete. I tend to prefer a natural environment."

Mr Brownless said the petition prompted several questions such as who would pay for it, where would it go and what the resource consent requirements might be.

"I wish I could sound excited but given the experience of the surf reef, that has left me being cautious because there were studies showing how much money it was going to bring in, etc., but what happened was the opposite and where are the people who pushed it through? They're nowhere to be seen."

Mr Brownless said he did not support the idea but was willing to listen if a formal proposal was made to council.

"It's good to have people come up with ideas, but with the limited information I've got, it's hard to be excited."

Ngai Te Rangi kaumatua Hauata Palmer was not opposed to the idea but questioned why the pool would be needed.

"If it's safer, then that's fine. It seems odd to build a swimming pool when there is all that water out there.

"I live on the island [Matakana]. Our kids, they learn to swim at a very early age. The swimming pool is out there, and they are happy to use it."

What the locals think:

Nevan Lancaster: It's called Pilot Bay.

Deana Franks: Brilliant idea for those who enjoy the water but not the waves and rips so much.

Stacey Bishop: They're building something similar on Tauranga waterfront.

Daniel Nelson: There's already a natural pool there. The ocean

Belinda Cortesi: They have them in Townsville too. Great idea.

Additional reporting by Kiri Gillespie

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