Frustration was evident at a public meeting about the new site of the Onekawa pools in Napier on Tuesday night.

At least 150 people crowded into the Napier Old Boys' Marist Club to share their concerns with the Napier City Council.

The meeting involved a discussion the design proposal such as a 32-seat spa pool, a total of 17 swimming lanes and increased leisure and play space, the new location is set for Prebensen Drive at a cost of $41 million, 3.5km away from the current site.

Other options included a hydrotherapy pool and a zero-depth water area for young children.

The aquatic centre is currently located in Onekawa and the council plans to engage with the community to change it into a new "improved recreation space for active family fun".


Councillor Annette Brosnan said an annual survey showed that aquatics in Napier were the lowest satisfaction rate among residents.

Councillor Keith Price said they were looking at Prebensen Drive as the new area for growth in Napier.

"We look at it as a sports hub and it's close to Park Island which is a recognised sports hub. There's room for growth and other activities that could take place.

"We have to future proof for future growth and we're a tourist town and we want to be able to create activities for our residents as well as our tourists."

Concerned residents asked varied questions from whether the council were planning to actually put water in the pool to traffic concerns and parking.

"There's already a lot of traffic in Tamatea Drive, so if you've got 300,000 people crossing that drive, there's going to be a lot of people turning right," a resident said.

Manager Design & Projects Mark Plesty said traffic engineers had looked into concerns surrounding increased flow.

"There is no traffic capacity problem. The turning directions and the location where we're going to tie into Tamatea Drive itself will be carefully engineered to ensure that there's a well protected traffic flow."


Another resident said there was nothing wrong with the current facility and couldn't see a reason to demolish it.

"How on earth did we get here? Why do we need to spend $40 million basically duplicating what we've already got?" he asked, to applause.

Manager of sport and recreation Glenn Lucas said the current facility had an old component to it which was built in the 1950's.

"It's well and truly end of life, the newer facility is about 15 years old and has a few good more years in it. The issues that we've got is that the all the machinery needs to be done away with and replaced with something better.

"Napier is crying out for more aquatic space."

Other questions asked involved concerns about children riding their bikes across the expressway and travelling further than they do to the current site.

Removal and cost of contaminated soil was also mentioned as well as the huge cost of the project as a whole.