When I was growing up learning to swim was a very important part of a child's development.

Every school had a pool and l, like many of you dreaded those cold morning swims in unheated pools.

NZ culture, particularly in summer, revolves around water and water sports. But our school pools are closing and busy parents have to find the time to get their little ones to swimming lessons.

The statistics suggest that moving our focus away from teaching children to swim has a price. In 2015 there were 113 drownings - 90 more than in 2014.


During my time as a city councillor many submissions have been made regarding the shortfall in swimming facilities and paucity of lane time available at our existing pools.

Now add to this situation the possible closure of the Greendale Pool in Taradale - a pool that caters for approximately 3,200 swimmers per year and we are facing a significant problem.

During my 12 years as an elected representative I have never had reoccurring submissions in front of me for a Velodrome, but almost every year the issue of swimming facilities was raised by the community.

What I have heard in my roles in the community is that we need more available pool time and more indoor court facilities for Basketball, Netball and Futsal.

With regards to the Velodrome it has been stated that supporting such a huge investment would attract people to the region.

While that sounds good I believe that we should be first and foremost providing the facilities that our community requires - after all it is the rates from the community that will be propping up the ongoing operating costs of any facility that is built for many years into the future.

Questions need to be answered. Does the community need it or do a group in the community want it. Will a large number of people in the community benefit from it or just a few.

Pools offer activities for all age groups within the community from learn to swim programmes, competitive swim training, fitness and health rehabilitation programmes and recreational fun. They are feeders for Surf Lifesaving and Triathlon. They are the safest place to learn to swim.

The Greendale Pool is a valuable community hub in Taradale and has been there for the community since the 1940's.

I know what I would rather be investing my rates in.

Tania Wright is standing as a candidate in the Taradale Ward for the Napier City Council in next month's local government elections.