Stratford district councillors have agreed to spend up to $15 million on a new pool for Stratford.

The resolution was passed by councillors at a policy and services committee meeting last week, but a decision on whether the current pool will be significantly refurbished or a new one be built will be made in the next year.

This is to allow time for council officers to do further research, develop design options and provide more detailed costings for elected members to consider.

A minimum of $3m will be found externally for the project and the balance will be funded by way of a council loan.

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The resolution will be formally adopted at an ordinary council meeting on June 12.

Options for the future's pool were a hot topic during the plan's submission process, with nine submitters wanting to keep the current pool, 52 wanting to replace the building and 74 wanting a brand new pool.

During the process, a number of submitters said they liked the option which was presented at council 10 years ago where the current main pool was converted into a learners pool and a new 25 x 25 metre pool be built.

Mayor Neil Volzke says the swimming pool complex is in need of some major repairs, with the oldest part of the pool being 81 years old.

"Parts of the facility are reaching the end of their life and ongoing maintenance costs have been increasing over recent and look set to continue to do so. We have ongoing issues that include condensation, dripping from the roof, and the air temperature being too cold in winter and too hot in summer."

Neil says councillors made the decision because they have also been aware of the issues facing pool users.

"The submissions and other feedback told us that the facility is no longer fit for purpose and doesn't meet the needs of the wider community, both young and old. This is the largest single facility the council owns and while it is very expensive to replace, it is seen as a long lasting, inter-generational asset, so the cost will be spread by way of a long term loan."

In her submission, resident Katherine Sextus said her family have been regular pool users.
She says if the council "truly views themselves as proactive and forward thinking" than building a new pool should be council's preferred option.

"A new facility would better meet the future needs of the community, provide regional benefits, offer more choice, stimulate growth and development as well as make Stratford a more attractive destination to live, work and play."

Stratford Amateur Swimming Club representative Daniel Hancock said past patch-up jobs of the pool had not rectified "failings of the complex" and had only absorbed ratepayer and borrowed funds into a "black hole of repeated maintenance".

"It is now time to refit the complex before costs become even more exorbitant or continued patch-ups further delay the process and see Stratford risk losing the asset."
He supported the inclusion of an option similar to that proposed by the 2009 Long Term Plan to convert the existing pool and build a new 25m x 25m pool.

Resident Nicole Howells said she found the pool unsuitable for her toddler to swim unless she is holding him, as the little pool is too deep.

"If I am not getting in the pool he misses out while his siblings swim ... We definitely need a shallow pool for toddlers."

Linda Whittington said a brand new swimming complex would be a great asset to Stratford.

"We have such fantastic swimmers training and learning to swim at the present one but it clearly is not up to scratch. There is no toddlers' pool — except outside — which is not good enough at present. Stratford has a forward thinking group of people, let's build new and have the opportunity to run national events, which will favour the whole town."