The members of an independent panel tasked with reviewing options for the management of Rotorua's Aquatic Centre have been revealed.

The panel will be made up of Auckland lawyer Tama Hovell, Deloittes director Rob McDonald, and Sports New Zealand Spaces and Places lead Jamie Delich.

The Aquatic Centre has been the subject of controversy since the Rotorua Lakes Council decided to outsource its management to Community Leisure Management (CLM).

The decision was challenged by union members and centre staff over what they described as a lack of consultation.


Earlier this month the council voted 6-5 in favour of a recommendation put forward by councillor Rob Kent to reconsider all management options and consider any implications on future development opportunities.

In a statement released by the council this afternoon, Hovell was described as having experience in environmental, resource management and Maori issues.

"He has also been involved in a number of major resource consenting projects, provided advice on developments in natural landscape areas and consulted on a range of large infrastructure developments for electricity and telecommunications infrastructure within transport corridors."

McDonald has experience in business planning, businesses cases and feasibility studies, valuations, operational reviews, consultations and due diligence for a range of sectors including local government and tourism.

Delich has more than 44 years' involvement with the aquatics industry, from initial positions with various Wellington councils to now advising on national aquatic industry best practice and developments.

"He has been leading Sport NZ's national sporting facilities network programme which involves facility concept, planning, design, build and operations. In his Spaces and Places role he is coordinating regional strategies on developing sport and recreation facility priorities and needs across New Zealand."

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Draft terms of reference for the panel have also been finalised following feedback.

The panel will report back to the council on their recommendations and preferred model.

Rotorua Lakes Council chief executive Geoff Williams said the council would "continue working in good faith with staff and their union representatives".

"As I've said previously, it is important that this matter is resolved as soon as possible to provide certainty for both staff and the council organisation on the way forward for the Aquatic Centre."