Ashburton Community Pool closes its doors this Friday

5/05/2015 12:00 a.m.

Those wanting to have their last swim in the Ashburton Community Pool have only a few days left to do so.

This Friday marks the end of an era for the community pool when at 5pm it will close its doors for the last time.

For more than 30 years the much loved facility has played an important role in our community and just like the centre opening at the weekend, it was a community project.

Initially an outdoor pool which was enjoyed in the summer months only, the community rallied and raised the required funding to have a heated, covered pool so it could be used year-round.

The Pool Committee at the time budgeted $520,000 for the complex and a "roof the pool project" was launched.

The community pool was officially opened on Saturday 27 March 1982 and, at its most popular, had about 85,000 admissions annually.

Up until last year, the pool was managed by a board made up of councillors, representatives from local primary schools, Ashburton College and swim team representatives.

Former Ashburton Community Board Chairperson Judith Somerville says the pool provided the community with a facility they could be proud of and over the years has served the community well.

"The challenge has always been how to best use the pool space available as there was never enough space and often it was the public that missed out."

She says the introduction of the school's programme, which saw 90 per cent of local schools involved, reflected the quality of tutoring being provided.

"It's been a regular sight to see a school bus parked outside waiting to pick up or drop off pupils for their swimming lessons and having a full-time swim coach has meant our young people could develop their swimming skills to be able to swim competitively."

Sports Facility Manager Steve Prescott says the community pool has taught countless people how to swim over the years, been the training ground for many great swimmers, helped with people's rehabilitation and been the source of hours of enjoyment.

He says the pool's learn to swim programme has gone from strength to strength, with more interest than the facility could accommodate.

"Space limitations at the community pool meant we couldn't expand the swim programme but space isn't going to be an issue at the new centre so we can increase the numbers."

Councillor Russell Ellis' own family has benefitted hugely from our community pool.

"My mum's Green Prescription aqua exercise class was the beginning of a new lease on life for her and my sons have been regular visitors through the years attending learn-to-swim classes, going with school groups and swimming socially. I have sat in the seats cheering them on at various school events.  It has been a place of learning, enablement and fun."

Page reviewed: 14 May 2015 11:16am