Push for longer hours at Halswell community pool

MAXIMISE: A push has been made for the Te Hapua: Halswell Centre swimming pool hours to be extended.

About 500 signatures have been collected and will be presented to the city council in support of extending the Halswell community pool’s opening hours.

City councillor Anne Galloway is set to present the signatures to city council staff this week.

The TeHapuaHalswell Summer Pool’s current hours are 11.30am-7pm. It opened for the summer season on November 17 and will close again on March 31.

“There is really a strong demand for it . . . I think it is a shame to have this fantastic resource out there and that the facility isn’t being used to its full potential,” Cr Galloway said.

Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board member Debbie Mora has also lodged a request with the city council to maximise the pool’s limited opening hours over the summer.

Ms Mora said she would like to see the pool open “anywhere from 7am” over summer.

“Some people are frustrated with the opening times . . . anything earlier than 11.30am is going to be appreciated,” she said.

If Ms Mora’s request is approved by city council chief executive Karleen Edwards, it will be sent back to the community board to be discussed at its meeting next Tuesday.

But city council head of recreation sports and events Nigel Cox said the pool needs to be open when there is enough demand from people wanting to swim. Figures from last summer showed patronage was low when the pool was open during the early morning hours.

Last year, due to the Pioneer Recreation and Sport Centre being closed for maintenance, the TeHapua pool was open from 6am-8pm weekdays and 7am-8pm on the weekend.

Mr Cox said the average number of people using the pool before 10am last year was between 1.2-2.6. The largest count before 10am for the whole summer was 13 people.

In the 2016/17 financial year, the pool recorded a deficit of $191,000. However, Cr Galloway said Halswell residents pay a lot of rates and the facility should be available for them to use when they want to use it. She also said many residents didn’t know the pool was open earlier last season.

Halswell Residents’ Association secretary David Hawke said due to the growing population in Halswell and Wigram, the pool may need to be upgraded. The association will discuss the idea of a heated and covered pool at its meeting on Monday.

•HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you think the TeHapuaHalswell Summer Pool’s opening hours need to be extended? Email your views to georgia.oconnor@starmedia.kiwi