A 'manu' bomb pool and hydroslide are part of draft redevelopment designs for the Rotorua Aquatic Centre, put to the district council's Operations and Monitoring Committee on Thursday.

The Long-Term Plan 2018-2028 set aside $7.5 million over three years to replace the centre's roof, redesign the reception and changing rooms, establish a dedicated learn-to-swim pool, upgrade the 50m pool and add play structures.

The initial concept plans were revealed at yesterday's meeting, and the new proposed "manu" bomb pool and hydroslide plans drew the most attention.

Rotorua Aquatic Centre redevelopment, initial draft plan. Image / Supplied
Rotorua Aquatic Centre redevelopment, initial draft plan. Image / Supplied

Sports development manager Steve Watene explained "manus", otherwise known as bombs, were "something our community likes".

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"There is only one other dedicated manu pool in New Zealand, in Ōtāhuhu ... We really want to include that."

Aquatic Centre fun in 2017. Photo / File
Aquatic Centre fun in 2017. Photo / File

Community Leisure Management (CLM) managing director, John Latimer, said hydroslide additions could be similar to Palmerston North's facility, built by Whitewater NZ.

"It is the largest and fastest speed slide in the country."

The Aquatic Centre's 50m pool is the only outdoor one open all year round in New Zealand.

However, leaks and slumping of the pool bottom have stopped the pool from meeting national standards to host swimming competitions.

The plans seek to change this by resealing and levelling out the bottom.

Watene said the pool would definitely have to be closed for at least two to three months for renovations, depending on what was found under the pool structure, but he said disruptions would be minimised.

The planning team hoped a learners pool would prevent noise and distractions hindering classes and would allow the programmes to cater for more children.

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National Division 2 Swimming Championships at the Rotorua Aquatic Centre 25m pool, 2018. Photo / File
National Division 2 Swimming Championships at the Rotorua Aquatic Centre 25m pool, 2018. Photo / File

In particular, CLM is also looking to attract more migrants to the learners' programme.

The council was earlier criticised for contracting Community Leisure Management to manage the centre from July 2018 onwards.

Infracore and Aquatic Centre protest against management changes in 2017. Photo / File
Infracore and Aquatic Centre protest against management changes in 2017. Photo / File

However, its six-month report showed the centre was surpassing most of its targets and was tracking towards saving $500,000 in costs in its first year with CLM compared to the year prior.

"We wanted better outcomes for our community at a lower cost and we've got that," operations group manager Henry Weston said

Rotorua Aquatic Centre entrance. Photo / File
Rotorua Aquatic Centre entrance. Photo / File

The centre is tracking towards more than 350,000 visits in the year to July, has had 1181 students through the Learn to Swim programme since taking over management, and currently has 350 gym members.

Managers are looking to open the centre earlier than 6am due to strong demand in the mornings.

"At 6am there are a number of people waiting outside, usually 20 to 30 people," CLM aquatics manager Pierre Holland said.

Council chief executive Geoff Williams (front left) with mayor Steve Chadwick. Photo / File
Council chief executive Geoff Williams (front left) with mayor Steve Chadwick. Photo / File

Council chief executive Geoff Williams assured the committee that ongoing maintenance costs and depreciation were being considered in the project budgets.

Councillor Tania Tapsell encouraged the redevelopment team to ensure the facility's charges remained affordable for lower socio-economic members of the community, and their needs were prioritised over tourists'.

Rotorua Lakes councillor Tania Tapsell. Photo / File
Rotorua Lakes councillor Tania Tapsell. Photo / File

Weston said, "to be commercially realistic, the centre needs to be affordable".

Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said the Aquatic Centre changes were "one of a number of exciting developments under way in Rotorua".

"The Aquatic Centre development is great news for locals and will also add to the range of activities in Rotorua for visitors."