Build your own

A number of Kawakawa pool users are upset and confused by a report that recommends a heated pool be built by council at Kerikeri and their withdrawal from Kawakawa. The FNDC needs to explain to the public why this secret (?) feasibility study was necessary - who authorised it and the $30,000 to fund it?

The Bay of Islands district and the FNDC has benefited from this public facility, built entirely by its community for community use.

Many people gave a huge amount of time and energy fundraising for the outdoor pool, which was completed at the end of October 1974. On October 30 the public pledged wholehearted support at a meeting held at the Bay College assembly hall to determine its use. A committee was elected to administer the pool. They were T Nicholls, R Timmins (Kawakawa), M Larcombe, G Smith (Opua/Paihia), J Gardner, L Roxburg, M Woodman (Moerewa/Pakaraka).

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The Bay of Islands Swimming Club was formed in November 1974 with a mandate from the committee to "teach efficient swimming in the interests of water safety and to provide a foundation for participation in aquatic activities where the ability to swim and survive is paramount".

The pool was managed by the club, with assistance from the public. Generous financial support came from staff of AFFCo and the Star Hotel's manager, Laurie Hughes.

A further round of fundraising plus a number of grants enabled the ASB Recreation Centre to be built, the pool heated and covered, and managed from 1990 by elected trustees. On February 1, 2003 the ASB Recreational Centre Trust transferred management to the BOI College board of trustees.

The pool was closed for repairs and upgrading in April 2006, then re-opened in August 2007 under FNDC management. The council signed a license to occupy agreement for the next 10 years.

The Freeman study commissioned by the FNDC makes no mention of previous history, leading people to believe erroneously that this is a council pool. Not one cent of ratepayers' money went into the building of it.

I understand that the report was tabled at a council meeting some months ago - the public have certainly been kept in the dark. I have read excerpts from the Freeman report, and in my opinion it is totally biased and contains numerous errors. I certainly hope that council rejects this flawed document, and insists on a refund.

It is quite clear that if a pool is built at Kerikeri the council will abandon Kawakawa. If Kerikeri residents want a pool then they can build it themselves, as we did. I object to my rates money funding the proposed new pool when we already have a perfectly adequate facility here at Kawakawa.

I look forward to FNDC's explanation.

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M LARCOMBE
Opua