Replacement QE II to open today

FIRST DIP: Pai Wynyard, Bella van Nobelen, Joe Kennedy and Amy Hughes celebrate the opening of the new QE II. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

After more than seven years, a new $38.6 million aquatic facility will open in the east.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel will officially open Taiora: QE II Recreation and Sport Centre at 3.30pm today, before it opens to the public from 6pm.

The facility at QE II Park has a 130m hydroslide, a 25m lap pool with a movable floor, a leisure pool with lazy river and water toys, a learn-to-swim pool, a hydro-therapy pool, a spa, sauna and steam room.

A fitness centre with a spin studio and group fitness area, a cafe, meeting rooms and a 200-space car park with additional cycle parking are also included.

It also has its own chlorine generation plant, which will produce chlorine for all city council pools.

The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust donated $7.47 million to the project for water attractions, with the city council paying the rest.

The original QE II was built for the 1974 Commonwealth Games. It was demolished after being severely damaged in the February 22, 2011, earthquake.

Keep QE II in the East chairwoman Jo Zervos said while a lot of people were disappointed with the smaller size of the facility, they were hugely excited for today’s opening.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” she said.

“We can’t wait for it to open.”

She said a lot of children would be excited for the hydroslide, while the hydro-therapy pool was “lovely”.

The group wanted a 50m pool as part of the design.

City councillor David East said there was provision for a 50m pool to be added in the future.

“It’s a huge deal for our side of town. It’s something the locals have been hanging out for ever since the old QE II was demolished.”

City council recreation and sports operations manager Nigel Cox said Taiora: QE II was opening a month early because everything went “very smoothly”.

He said they were expecting a busy opening weekend, with a lot of activities planned.

The facility will share the site with the new Shirley Boys’ and Avonside Girls’ High Schools, which are due to open on site in term two next year.

Cr East, city councillor Glenn Livingstone and Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust trustee Rod Carr will help open the facility at 3.30pm.

TIMELINE:

– The original QE II Sport and Recreation Centre was built for the 1974 Commonwealth Games.

– It was severely damaged in the February 22, 2011, earthquake and later demolished.

– In June 2012, it was decided an aquatic facility would be built to replace QE II.

– In September, 2014, it was decided to rebuild on QE II Park.

– In June, 2016, the city council sold 11.5ha of QE II Park to the Ministry of Education so Shirley Boys’ and Avonside Girls’ High Schools could be built there.

– In November 2016, the city council appointed Apollo Projects Ltd to build the new facility.

– Construction began in January, 2017.

– An official opening ceremony for Taiora: QE II Recreation and Sport Centre will be held this afternoon, before opening to the public at 6pm.

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