The owners of Waikato's controversial Waingaro Hot Pools are facing the boot and a hefty repair bill if the Waikato District Council wins civil proceedings which began in the High Court at Hamilton yesterday.

Chuhar and Amro Singh bought the pool complex in 1993.

But since then it's been laden with a variety of issues whether it's customer complaints over its dilapidated state, people drowning, breaching advertising standards or not keeping up with necessary maintenance.

It's has also since had its Accident Compensation Corporation Poolsafe Accreditation cancelled after it was re-issued in 2006.


The council says it was the state of the buildings and continued contamination of the pool's water - which is fed from a geothermal spring - that led it to commission a report from three independent experts about the state of the property.

That produced a lengthy list of works to be carried out - totalling $2 million from minor to major - with some having since been completed - however there were still multiple health and safety risks to members of the public, council's lawyer Prajna Moodley, told Justice Christian Whata during the beginning of the three day proceedings.

But the Singh's counsel, David Taylor, said his clients did not have a clear understanding of what was required until a building consent was approved in November last year.

Mr Taylor will later submit as his evidence that the council simply got its nose out of joint after confidential attempts to buy the complex in early 2013 failed due to "price expectation".

He claims the expert report was commissioned, not to assess the property for maintenance, rather "investigating the risks of further ownership should council purchase".

He will also state that council staff had extensive knowledge of the pools, inspecting it three to four times a year, yet never suggested they carry out remedial works.

Two of the many concerns raised by the experts - engineers and environmental scientists - after their inspection in November, 2013, found the geothermal water was not being chlorinated, exposing bathers to Nagleria Fowleri, an organism that can cause amoebic meningitis, and the water getting too hot - 56 degrees - and scalding swimmers.

They also noted "there has been minimum maintenance and repairs to this facility for sometime".


"As a result there are a number of identified structures that have failed and we recommend to be closed, to be removed or replaced".

The report then led the council to issue notices relating to the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act and New Zealand Building code.

Frustrated at the lack of repair work carried out since then, the council - which owns the land the property sits on - now not only want the work to be completed but want the Singh's gone.

In court, Mr Moodley told Justice Whata the notice was issued as the buildings were dangerous and posed a health and safety hazard.

Jim Graham, principal environmental scientist from Wellington, was one of those experts to visit the site and took the stand yesterday.

His top concern was the entry of unchlorinated geothermal water getting into the pools.

Although the Singh's had replaced the bore well there was still the risk of it overflowing during a flood and contaminating the pool water.

Mr Graham told Mr Taylor the likelihood of the water being contaminated is very low but the consequences "are very serious".

"It would be a very, very brave person that allowed geothermal water from any source into a swimming pool and allowed [swimmers] to put their head under."

Council managers are due to give evidence today, then Mr Taylor will begin his client's case.


• June 14, 1993 - Chuhar and Amro Singh buy Waingaro Hot Pools for $1.325 million,

• 1996 - Fatality

• 2001 - Waikato District Council asks Singh's to complete repairs.

• August 2001 - New 33-year lease signed,

• November 13, 2002 - Aranui Rawiri, 3, drowns

• 2010 - Singh's fail in their bid to sell the property

• 2011 - the Advertising Standards Authority censure owners for showing 20-year-old footage of complex in a television advertisement.

• December, 2013 Waikato District Council says multiple buildings at complex breach building code,

• January 2014 - Buildings/structures of concern bordered up or fenced by Singh's. Up to owners if complex remain open.

• Today - WDC want Singh's to complete works and released from lease