Tinwald Pool not opening this summer

Published: 8 September 2023

The Council has decided not to open the Tinwald Community Pool for the upcoming 2023-24 summer season. Low visitation, staff shortages, leaks and the cost to keep open, were all factors that led to the decision.

Group Manager of People and Facilities, Sarah Mosley said, “We understand members of the community will be disappointed, but we hope it’s an opportunity for other outdoor district pools - Hinds, Mayfield, Ruapuna, Mt Somers, Rakaia, as well as non-Council pools like Methven, and school run pools to receive more visitors.

When the pool is full, the pool shell and inground pipework leak around 17,000 litres a day (1,530,000 litres per season), from unknown locations. Additionally, when the pool's aging treatment equipment does eventually fail, it cannot be replaced without a significant and costly rebuild of the complex.

The highest number of visitors had been 3,050 people in the 2020-21 season, which still resulted in a direct financial loss of $66,000. This means that in that year, each swim cost $22, of which $4 was paid by the swimmer and $18 funded by general rates.

Traditionally staffing becomes a major issue every February when students return to tertiary study. This, coupled with the EA Networks Centre’s ongoing quest for additional lifeguards due to a national shortage, the likelihood to find enough for both facilities to operate normal hours is low.

“We did consider operating Tinwald Pool with reduced hours and a shorter season but given the amount of challenges the pool is facing and the fixed costs to get an outdoor pool ready and operating, Council opted to give the community certainty ahead of the season”, Ms Mosley said.

The future of the pool will be determined in the Long-Term Plan (LTP) process currently underway. Council will weigh up the benefits of a business case to rebuild the Tinwald pool at an estimated cost of $3 million against other capital projects.

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