The future of Wanganui East's swimming pool is under the microscope again, with the Wanganui District Council asking officers to investigate the long-term options to replace or refurbish the pool.
The recommendation follows lengthy debate at a committee meeting this week.
An initial recommendation had asked for $14,750 to fund a report from Global Leisure Group to research the options for future use of the Eastside pool, as well as indoor-outdoor swimming generally in the city.
This follows discussions during the 2014-15 annual plan round when the council decided to open the Wanganui East Pool for summer. Councillors had also asked for a report and options for the suburban outdoor pool, including input from the Wanganui East Pool action group.
Leighton Toy, deputy property manager, said there was an increasing trend to move to indoor swimming to provide an all-year-round activity.
"But we believe council needs to get feedback from the community ... The biggest question is whether the city can afford an outdoor pool in the coming years."
Councillor Rob Vinsen said the council knew Wanganui East residents favoured a facility in their suburb.
"Perhaps a new complex is an option and could be cost effective as well," Mr Vinsen said.
Mr Toy said the research would cover the whole city, not just Wanganui East. Councillor Helen Craig said she was concerned the council could not afford everything "but this sort of study gives the community expectations, so how do we manage that?"
An earlier report showed the Wanganui East pool was nearing the end of its life and the council needed to find out what the community wanted in terms of its swimming facilities.
Councillor Philippa Baker-Hogan said she "firmly believed" the city wanted an outdoor pool and that it would be either in Wanganui East or next to the Splash Centre. This suggested research still would not tell the council how much it would cost.
She said spending the money would be valuable if it looked specifically at an outdoor pool.
"At some stage we need to understand the costs involved. People will only see us wasting money otherwise."
Councillor Martin Visser said clarity was needed and this research would give it.
"We need a much better steer on what the community wants."
But Councillor Charlie Anderson argued for the money to be spent at the pool itself rather than on further research. He suggested putting that $14,750 toward a new boiler for the pool, with the council underwriting another $25,000 to be matched by community fund raising for a new boiler to heat the pool.
"It would be crazy to spend this money on more reports. The people are going to go nuts when they read about this," he said.
Mayor Annette Main said the council had already raised community expectations as a consequence of its annual plan decision.
But Mr Vinsen said he wanted to know the costs of an outdoor pool and that either Wanganui East or the Splash Centre were the logical options.
"We don't need to spend this money on consultations, analysis and questionnaires. We know what the report will say but the public needs to know how much it will cost. This report is a waste of money. It's a very poor decision."
Ms Main said the council had asked officers to come back with options "and they have done just that". Her motion, that staff provide a paper which outlines the long-term options for the replacement or refurbishment of the Wanganui East Pool for the 10-year plan, was passed.