The Napier City Council has proposed a new 25-metre pool facility be built on bare land at the site of the former racecourse on Prebensen Drive, a plan that will be consulted on during this year's 2018-2028 long term plan process.

The council went out to the community with three options last year - a $19.5 million extension and refurbishment of the existing Napier Aquatic Centre facilities, or a new build of either a 25-metre or a 50-metre pool.

Residents overwhelmingly supported a new 50-metre pool at the Napier Aquatic Centre in Onekawa.

Council director community services Antoinette Campbell said, however, that the Ivan Wilson building in Onekawa had been developed in an ad-hoc manner since the 1950s and parts of the building were in a poor condition.


"We looked at all the options to expand, but the refurbishment of the Napier Aquatic Centre was taken off the table by the council as the business case recommended a new 25-metre pool.

"Since we went out to consultation a new site has come up at Prebensen Drive, land which the council owns."

She said there were also issues at Onekawa due to the land under it having been contaminated, which would be costly to remediate.

In addition, the council was mindful that a 50-metre pool was in the plans for the new Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Centre.

"Our facilities plan says we do not warrant two 50-metre pools in the region - we see this as complementing the one at the sports park, which is aimed at competitive training, while this would include learn-to-swim programmes and leisure swimming as well."

The plans for the new complex included a 25-metre lap pool, cafe, water play area, a gym, learn-to-swim pool, hydrotherapy pool and spa, and were based on the design for the new Christchurch QE2 development, due to open on Queen's Birthday this year.

While only designed for a 25-metre pool at the moment, the proposed site had the capacity to expand it to 50-metres if that was needed in the future, Ms Campbell said.

Napier City Council manager of sport and recreation Glenn Lucas said the big advantage of the new site was that there would be no interruption to the Napier Aquatic Centre while a new facility was built.


"It's also about providing space for everyone who wants to swim at any time - at the moment the Napier Aquatic Centre is closed to the public from 3pm to 7pm to run classes - this way people could go for a swim when they wanted to after school or work."

If approved the proposed pool facility was estimated to cost about $41.3m to build and $3.3m a year to operate (these figures taking into account inflation and the likes of paying interest on loans).

It was one of three big ticket capital projects proposed in the Long Term Plan - the others being a new library at an unknown cost and an expansion of the Napier Aquarium, with a total cost of $50m, $10m of that to be funded by ratepayers.

If the pool proposal was adopted, it equated to a $67-a-year rate increase per ratepayer, and had a 50-year lifespan, compared to expanding the current facilities, which would incur a $51-a-year cost for ratepayers and only had a 15-year lifespan.

The Long Term Plan opens for consultation this Friday and closes on May 14. Consultation documents would start being mailed out on April 24.