The layout of Stratford's new swimming pool has been decided by elected members at last week's council meeting.
During the meeting elected members discussed a range of options, from the depth of the main pool to whether the hydrotherapy pool should also be used for children's water play and learn to swim classes.
This option, special projects manager Neil Cooper said in his report, allowed for budget constraints.
Councillors agreed on setting the depth of the main pool being 1.4 metres in the shallow end and a maximum depth of 1.8 metres. They also agreed the hydrotherapy pool should be used for learn to swim and children's water play as well, to allow for the fact council was working to a smaller budget than anticipated.
A recent application to the Taranaki Electricity Trust (TET) for funding for the pool was only partially successful, with TET trustees voting to grant one-third of the total money council had requested for the pool.
Council chief executive Sven Hanne says council applied for a grant of $1.5 million for the pool, as well as $484,600 for other projects.
At the November TET meeting, the application was discussed by just three of the six trustees.
Trustees Alan Jamieson and Jono Erwood, who are both Stratford District Councillors, left the room as they had a conflict of interest, as did their fellow Ward B trustee Andrew Wood who also declared a conflict of interest, stating his son is employed by the pool during university holidays.
The remaining trustees, Tony Bedford, Melissa Kay and Mike Davey, agreed to grant a total of $500,000 to Stratford District Council, specifically for the pool project.
Sven says while the official letter from the trustees does say they will consider granting up to an extra $500,000 in June 2021 if they have any surplus between the TET grants budget and the grants they have approved, that money can't be counted on.
"So at this stage, where we are due to start work on the site early next year, we have to make all our design and layout decisions based on the budget we have. Any grant money that comes in later will be put to great use offsetting the cost to the ratepayer, but the decisions being made now are based on the money we know we have."
Sven says as well as turning the hydrotherapy pool into a multi-use pool, the reduced budget also means less spectator seats will be included in the design.
He says elected members had to determine the layout in December's council meeting in order for the project to progress on track, with work due to begin in February next year.
Stratford mayor Neil Volzke says the TET funding decision is disappointing.
"Unlike our neighbouring councils, Stratford does not have an investment arm to receive income from, so money from funding bodies like this is the only way we can alleviate the burden on our ratepayers.
"With the pool facility usage numbers at around 60,000 a year the amount allocated in this funding decision seems disproportionate in comparison to others. Naturally we are thankful we have received a substantial grant, but note we had of course been hoping for more.
"The pool project is huge, and will deliver a facility that will serve the broader community for many decades to come."
Council director of community development Kate Whareaitu says with no TET funding for any of the other projects included in the application, other funding avenues are currently being explored.
"At the moment council is working on still delivering our summer community events, and economic and business support services. The remaining projects, either entirely or specific aspects of them, will not go ahead in 2021 unless we are able to source alternative funding for them."
Disclosure: Editor Ilona Hanne is married to the CEO of Stratford District Council.