A Reporoa woman who took a visiting family member to Butcher's Pool came away embarrassed and reeling at the state of the facility.
Named after one of Reporoa's first settlers, Butcher's Pool is a man-made pool filled by a natural spring and is located just south of the Reporoa township. The outdoor complex has public toilets, rubbish bins and a carpark.
According to local woman Leanne Maniapoto, the pool is popular with locals and visitors alike.
"I go there quite a bit," Maniapoto said. "I was quite excited to be taking my partner's uncle [who was visiting from Fiji] to the pool."
But she said when she got there excitement turned to disgust and embarrassment at the mess.
"There were used sanitary pads beside the pool, discarded alcohol bottles and cans, and general rubbish all over the place. I ended up grabbing a sock and picking up the sanitary items because they were sickening me.
"It was like someone had just taken it off and thrown it to the ground before getting into the pool.
"While there is sometimes a little bit of rubbish lying around the place, I've never seen it as bad as it was this time."
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Maniapoto said she believed locals treated Butcher's Pool with respect and she suspected it may have been visitors to the area who had left the mess behind.
"I would like to think this is the case," she said. "Butcher's Pool is such a beautiful spot and we need to ensure it stays that way."
Maniapoto posted about the experience on the Reporoa community notices Facebook page. Her post resulted in a flurry of comments with many calling for CCTV cameras to be installed at the pool.
Rotorua Lakes District Council sports, recreation and environment manager Rob Pitkethley said Butcher's Pool was a popular spot for locals and visitors however this had unfortunately contributed to an ongoing problem with litter in the area.
"Previously part of the Reporoa Domain Board properties owned by the Crown, Butcher's Pool thermal reserve was vested in council in 1964 as a recreation reserve so the pool could remain accessible to the public," Pitkethley said.
"The reserve and pool was upgraded in 2001 to include a new pool structure, wheelchair access, and a new toilet block and changing facilities.
"Council initially serviced one small bin in the area once a week, however due to the amount of rubbish being left around the bin this was upgraded to a 360-litre wheelie bin on a stand. This bin is scheduled to be emptied twice a week but is often emptied more frequently by Smart Environmental staff (council's contractor) passing through the area."
The council serviced the grounds and toilet facilities in the area. The toilets were cleaned twice a week, mowing was about every three weeks and gardening monthly. The council maintained the hard surfaces, decking and fencing.
"There is a liquor ban and glass bottle ban in the area to try to reduce the chances of glass entering the pool and potentially causing harm to someone. However these signs are often vandalised and removed, and glass bottles make up a large portion of the rubbish that is collected from the site.
"At the end of last year a community clean-up took place at Butcher's Pool. This involved council, the Rotorua Rural Community Board, and local families. Smart Environmental provided the rubbish bags, protective gloves and organised the removal of the rubbish from the site.
"While the area is largely respected by most users it is disappointing that a handful of people are negatively impacting the experience for others. While council is proactive about ensuring the area is clean and safe, the responsibility lies with all users of the pool to abide by the glass and liquor ban and help keep the area clean and tidy.
"People are encouraged to let council know if the area needs immediate servicing."