Candidate Comment – Mike Cardiff on the Aquatic Centre

Most would agree that there is a need for a new Public Pool facility in Pararpapraumu.The Raumati Pool is beyond its use by date and is inadequate to service the present community demand. A new Aquatic facility was originally planned to be opened and operative by 2009. This has been regularly deferred by Council.

The Raumati Pool Complex was managed and operated from 2006 on minimal budgets as it was to be closed at the time of the opening of the new Aquatic Centre. Council had at that time already received advice from Swimming New Zealand that the country did not need another 50m pool. A new pool of that size for this district was not justifiable or sustainable .Their recommendation was that a design for any new facility should concentrate on a 25m pool with a fun/play feature and include a separate learn-to-swim.

While Council has continued to defer commencement on their now preferred 50m pool facility, they have already managed to spend $1,024,702 of the $10,000,000 that has been borrowed for this essential project.

In response to an Official Information Act request, CEO Pat Doherty has replied that there is no Business Plan for this project; therefore there are no financial projections for operating costs and revenue generation. More remarkable is that Council can not supply any details of how much money has been raised to date by the Kāpiti Coast Multi-Purpose Aquatic and Recreation Centre Trust.

The Chairman of this trust (which has employed a full time fund raiser) has already indicated that the Trust needs another $4,000,000 from Council and that the project could now be a “bridge too far” due to escalating cost and the increasing amount required to fundraise.

Council has projected an outlay of up to $25,000,000 for a project that has no obvious rationale, management or fiscal accountability measures in place. Why have Councillors not been proactive and requested more detailed information? Unbelievable.

This project is now becoming a “bridge to nowhere” and has the hallmarks of the failed Lemar Sewerage Treatment venture, where unnecessary costs were paid by ratepayers.