Work on the new Te Aroha spa facility is progressing as the governance group eliminated critical risks and takes on the design phase.
This year is significant for the project as it will determine whether the new spa facility will go into the construction phase or whether the project will be laid to rest.
Matamata-Piako District Mayor and member of the governance group Ash Tanner says nothing was set in stone yet.
"We don't want this [facility] to be a burden on our ratepayers."
Ground investigations to find out whether the soil of the Te Aroha Domain would be stable enough to hold a new facility and to see whether there is enough geothermal water available to support a larger spa have been completed with positive results.
Tanner says over the next few months, the group would focus on other risks,such as construction costs.
"And we will look whether the facility would be [financially] viable, does it pay for itself? ... [But] first, we need to decide what it's gonna look like and then focus on the business case."
Design ideas to date include multi-bathing outdoor pools and a mixture of mineral water and conventional heated pools.
Tanner says that both the design concept and the business case will be completed by the end of this year.
"This is a critical year for the development, let's keep our fingers crossed."
The new spa facility has been approved in the council's 2021-2031 Long Term Plan as the existing Te Aroha Mineral Spas can't always meet demand and potential customers are being turned away.
The council committed $18.9 million to the project over the next 10 years, but it will only go ahead if the business case stacks up.
The project is in the middle of the investigation phase until later this year when the planning phase is expected to start. This phase is planned to run until mid-2024.
Construction is set to start in late 2024.