Councillor tries to stop more money going into pool project

FACILITIES: The district council has approved an increased budget of $14.8 million for the extension of the Selwyn Aquatic Centre in spite of one councillor's concerns.

District councillor Debra Hasson’s bid to stop the budget increase for the Selwyn Aquatic Centre extension was not supported last week.

The district council has approved a $14.8 million extension of the aquatic centre, an increase of $2.8 million on the original budget. It also approved design concepts for the new $22.2 million Rolleston Library and Community Centre at its meeting on Wednesday.

The two projects were proposed in the Long Term Plan 2018-2028 and aim to cater for Selwyn’s growing population.

The district is forecast to grow from about 60,000 people to 80,000 in 10 years.

At the meeting, Cr Hasson suggested making an amendment to the budget for the aquatic centre stayed at $12 million, which was approved in the Long Term Plan.

“We have other projects in here [Long Term Plan] and if we follow the same course as this one – and we’re talking multi-million dollar projects – we’re going to have a massive blowout and very early on,” she said.

However, she did not receive support from her fellow councillors over the aquatic centre budget.

District councillor Murray Lemon was not happy with her statements.

“Not so many weeks ago you proposed we should be building a 50m pool . . . personally, this is grand-standing,” he said.

District councillor John Morten voted against the proposed amendment.

“Whilst I don’t think anyone of us are particularly happy about the increase, I think we would be less happy if we ended up building a second-rate project,” he said.

District councillor Mark Alexander said in long-term, people care about the functionality of a facility.

“The community will remember the functionality we deliver. If we deliver an incomplete or not optimally functional solutions, that’s what they will remember . . . not that there was an increase in the functionality and in the price,” he said.

The aquatic centre extension will include a new 10-lane, 25m main pool, a reconfiguration of the existing pool and a cafe, subject to a business

Construction on the aquatic centre is set to be completed in mid-2020. Work on the two-storey Rolleston Library and Community Centre, which will be developed in the vicinity of Rolleston Reserve and Tennyson St, is set to start in April, with handover pencilled in for July 2020.