The construction contract for the new Napier Aquatic Centre will go out to tender, after a close vote at Napier City Council.
With Mayor Bill Dalton still in hospital, the vote at a meeting on Tuesday ended in a 6-6 split, meaning acting Mayor Faye White had the deciding vote, leading to a 7-6 decision to go out to tender.
Councillor Tania Wright phoned into the meeting to cast her vote.
Debate largely centred around the need for a new pool versus the financial responsibility around the new pool.
Councillor Annette Brosnan, who moved the motion, said she was excited about the investment in the new community space.
She said the underperforming Aquatic Centre at the current location meant children were missing out on swim lessons, as there is not enough space.
"Our facilities are not fit for purpose.
"Councillor Boag yesterday was published saying we can't learn to swim in a splash pad, well you can't learn to swim at Onekawa either at the moment."
Councillor Tony Jeffery said he would love to support the new pool, but he could not in good conscious.
"I know it is to Mayor Bill, I know how hard the staff have worked under council's instruction.
"But that is my heart, my head says this is not affordable.
"I have poured through the accounts, I have asked all the questions.
"There is just too much inherent risk."
He said he could see rates ending at unaffordable levels in the near future, if this project is to go ahead, which he said would have a negative impact members of the community, especially those on a fixed income.
"The first thing that goes is you don't heat your house, you don't buy clothing, and the third thing is food, you reduce your food.
"I cannot do this to our citizens."
NCC's chief executive Wayne Jack said the decision marks the beginning of an exciting development.
"This has been one of our priorities for Napier for years. The journey started back in 2014 in response to community demand.
"The new aquatic facility will ensure that Napier's sport development, leisure and play, water confidence and health and fitness services will be balanced."
The new site, which has been dubbed the Prebensen Dr site, but will be accessed from Tamatea Dr, will have a 25-metre lap pool with room to expand to 50 metres in the future if necessary.
It will also have a dedicated learn to swim pool, hydrotherapy pool, play pool, two hydroslides, gymnasium, spin room, cafe, birthday party room, outdoor playground and outdoor water play area.
The tender for construction will be advertised in mid-May, with council considering the award to tender in July. Construction would then begin at the end of 2019.
$41.3 million has been allocated for the pool in the Long Term Plan. This could be moved up to $44.3 million, although the final $3 million has not been approved.
Councillors who vote for the pool were Acting Mayor Faye White, Annette Brosnan, Claire Hague, Graeme Taylor, Keith Price and Tania Wright.
Councillors who voted against the motion were Tony Jeffery, Richard McGrath, Kirsten Wise, Larry Dallimore, Maxine Boag and Api Tapine.