Stratford's new pool location is still under discussion, after councillors voted on Tuesday to seek further information before confirming their earlier decision on the subject.
At council's ordinary meeting on August 11, councillors received a decision report from Neil Cooper, special projects manager, on the proposed location of the new pool planned for Stratford. The report gave councillors two options to choose from, to reiterate the earlier decision to co-locate the new pool with the TET Multi Sport Centre on Portia St, or two instruct staff to bring back a further report to enable them to reconsider the location.
In April, councillors decided to co-locate the proposed new pool with the TET Multi Sport Centre. After this decision was made community feedback was sought, a legal requirement as the proposed location was situated in a reserve.
Nineteen people sent in feedback on the subject, with 10 of those objecting directly the proposed location, and a further four objecting to the plan for a new pool completely.
In discussing the feedback received, mayor Neil Volzke said the time to object to a new pool itself was "well and truly gone" noting there had been a lot of community consultation on the subject over the years.
He reminded councillors the decision they were making at the meeting was confined to either reiterate the earlier decision to co-locate the pool with the TET Multi Sport Centre or to postpone the decision by requesting a further report giving the pros and cons of the various site options. They were not, he said, voting for a specific alternative location at this meeting.
Councillors went through each of the 19 pieces of feedback individually before discussing the decision overall.
Some of the feedback questioned the location in part because of a perception it wouldn't get natural sunlight in that location.
Chief executive Sven Hanne told councillors that modern pools actually avoid too much sunlight.
"Sunlight breaks down the chlorine in the pool faster, meaning higher dosage needs and there is also a health and safety issue with the glare from the sun limiting visibility for lifeguards."
After the mayor opened up discussions on the overall decision, councillor Jono Erwood spoke first.
"I'm not going to much around, I want to move option 2b now."
The motion was seconded by Councillor John Sandford.
Councillor Erwood said his main concern was the cost of moving the netball courts, the cost of which he said, wasn't in any budget yet.
"It's going to be costly."
Other issues he had with the proposed location, he said, included the potential the new building would obstruct the view of the Malone Gates and that the building itself would be "a dark and dingy space, a cave".
Building the pool on the sloped site would, he said, mean the elderly or injured would struggle to access it.
When it came to the cost of relocating the netball courts, it would depend on exactly was to be done, said Sven.
"Are we talking about just four netball courts, which is actually what the local clubs have said they need, while to be fair we have allowed for six. So that is around $600,000 to $800,000 to relocate them at the cheaper end."
Councillor Sandford said any new netball courts would need toilets and an area for the officials to use, as that is what they have currently at the TET Multi Sports Stadium.
The requested report giving potential costings as well as pros and cons for site options should match like for like, said Councillor Erwood.
"The current pool has a coffee machine and one room for parties or dry training, so that's would the costings should show, not extra bells and whistles, regardless of location."
Councillors in favour of the co-location of the pool with the Multi Sports Centre argued if the pool was there, it would have the extras through the synergy with the centre, while if built elsewhere would need them added on.
Deputy mayor Alan Jamieson said he was voting against the motion on the table.
"It's been discussed for a long time. The synergy gained by being next to the TET outweighs moving it elsewhere. The reason we agreed to put the pool by the TET Multi Sport Centre at the time still stand. We are lucky we have an extra $8 million for this that we aren't asking our ratepayers for. If we do it once, we should do it right."
Councillor Grant Boyde also wanted the original location decision to stand, saying the feedback received represented a very small number of people.
"If you take the number of people in the district, and do the math, it's only 0.084 per cent of that who are objecting, to me that is a clear mandate to put it onto the TET Multi Sports location as planned."
Councillor Gloria Webby said she didn't want the netball courts to be relocated.
"Having been a user of the netball courts for over 20 years, I speak with experience. They are in an ideal position. Some people have raised health and safety around the tiers on them, but most injuries happen on the courts, not on the sidelines. We have the finest netball facility on Taranaki, let's keep it that way."
Councillor Amanda Harris said in her experience, the tiers were an issue for health and safety.
"They do create a hazard."
She was in favour of the TET Multi Sports location for the new pool she said.
Councillors voted 7:4 in favour or requesting an additional report on the options before making a final decision. Councillors Jamieson, Boyde, Rick Coplestone and Harris voted against.
The additional report will be included in the agenda for the extraordinary meeting at the end of the month. The extraordinary meeting had already been called to enable councillors to discuss a three waters proposal from central government which came with a tight timeframe.
Disclaimer: Editor Ilona Hanne is married to the CEO of Stratford District Council