A feasibility study will be done on the future of the Raetihi swimming pool to help Ruapehu District Council decide whether to fund the community's vision for hot tubs or spa pools.
The proposal to upgrade Raetihi's well-used swimming facilities was presented to the council by a community forum in April 2019 as a priority project for town revitalisation.
However, neighbouring township Ohakune, just 11km away, has similar plans. Development group Ohakune 2000 wants to upscale the tourism hotspot's pool facilities to include spa amenities that would benefit the visitor industry.
Ruapehu District Council chief executive Clive Manley told the council Ohakune 2000 wants to tap into tourism on the mountain and growing numbers of mountain bikers.
"[Ohakune 2000] believe there's a business case for spas and all that side of it, whereas Raetihi is more of a community facility, and if they can get extra income they'd welcome it," Manley said.
"They are two separate projects. We want to make sure that we satisfy both needs.
"We're saying if we're going to be investing big money in either of those pools we should look at them together so they're not competing with each other. That's why we're doing that next level of feasibility, to actually put dollars to the option.
"The community have said what they'd like, that's very clear. What we don't know is what's the business case? Can we justify whatever it's going to cost?"
The Raetihi proposal also includes new play equipment and a barbecue area.
Waimarino-Waiouru Community Board Member John Chapman has said instead of supporting the Raetihi proposal two years ago, the council put forward a report which he says put the township in competition with Ohakune as to which pool expansion the council would support.
Councillor Viv Hoeta said it has never been a competition but it was important to consider how the two facilities would complement each other rather than clash.
Council staff said work on a report was disrupted by Covid-19 but the study was picked up again in July this year. Staff and a contractor will make a site visit to the Raetihi pool on December 6 as part of the feasibility study and a full report is due early next year.
Councillor Adie Doyle said the whole premise of the council's town revitalisation initiative was that each community identified what they wanted and then council looked at whether it was affordable or feasible.
A council staff member told councillors town revitalisation was a concept that in Raetihi did not have "any real definition at the moment".
Only two significant projects were being advanced following a series of community meetings on town revitalisation since 2017: swimming pool improvements and a proposal for a multipurpose community hub.
"There is no big town revitalisation thinking coming out of the community apart from the community hub," she said.
The hub is a joint proposal by Ruapehu District Council and iwi entity Uenuku Charitable Trust for a new build to house a council service centre, other community services and the iwi trust.