Bid to save town’s pool all but sunk

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Time to move ahead with recreation hub plans: Parry

A bid to save the Mataura swimming pool has floundered.

The Mataura Enriching Lives Trust proposal to keep the pool operational was discussed at a Gore District Council meeting on Tuesday.

The outcome left trust member Steve Dixon disappointed.

The decision to close the Mataura pool was made by the Gore District Council in 2015.

The council decided to close the pool and allocate $500,000 to be spent on a recreational project for the Mataura community.

The Mataura Enriching Lives Trust wanted to save the pool and had been given a six-month “grace” period to form a business plan, council chief executive Steve Parry said.

Mr Parry said he believed it was time to draw a line in the sand and move ahead with plans already being formulated for the redevelopment of Tulloch Park, including the pool complex, to create a recreational hub.

Cr Cliff Bolger said while he applauded the trust’s efforts he did not think the plan to secure funding annually to cover running costs at the pool would be sustainable.

“The intent is quite inspirational, which I applaud,” Cr Bolger said.

viable year on year would be a huge ask for a small community, he said.

Councillors agreed it would be hard to obtain grants on an annual basis.

Cr Doug Grant was surprised the trust had not submitted a full business plan.

“There is no real business plan,” Cr Grant said.

He thought the council should move ahead with its redevelopment plan.

Cr Ralph Beale said he did not want to see the trust set up to fail.

As well as the need to cover running costs, the storage of chlorine at the pool would need to be addressed as it was not legally compliant at present, he said.

Mr Dixon said the council had an opportunity to support the development of a salt-water pool in the town, which would bypass the need for a chlorination plant.

It was also difficult to come up with a definitive financial plan without a lease for the pool, he said.

People were keen to fund the project but needed to be sure the lease was secure, he said.

“We had a lot of support from the community,” he said.

The trust planned to house a laundromat, dog wash and sauna in the complex to increase revenue, Mr Dixon said.

The trust also planned to target freedom campers, who would be able to use the showers, toilets and laundromat as well as the swimming facilities, he said.