With the current social media attention a pool on Waiheke has been getting through the Local Board debates, we felt it prudent to explain the Waiheke Pool Society’s present position to help detail some facts.
Pool Society Structure
The Pool Society was formed in 2014. We are a group of volunteers working towards a greater pool project. Coupled with this is our involvement in managing the current community pool at Te Huruhi in partnership with Te Huruhi School and Swimgym, as facilitators of lessons and pool management for our tamariki and wider whanau. It should be noted, with many thanks, that Te Huruhi School are offering the pool for use to the community outside of school hours of their own accord.
History of Pool Projects
There have been numerous feasibility studies for Community Pools on Waiheke over the years. Location, ownership and liability all rank high in the final decision making process. Funds have been raised over the years and these sit in trust with the Pool Society for future use on a pool structure. The value of these funds is $102,000.
The most recent study (2019) indicated a capital cost of between $10m and $13m for a new 6 lane indoor structure incorporating a learner pool. The total cost was dependent on the level of specification. The study indicated annual operating costs to be in the vicinity of $380,00-$400,000 but projected income to be $170,000-$270,000. Therefore, there would be a shortfall, aside from the capital costs, for a large structured indoor pool facility.
The Future for our Pool Project
We are still looking to a smaller scale medium term community pool project. One that is covered, preferably with a retractable roof, that is wider and deeper, than the current community pool. If it can be sited at Te Huruhi School there is the added benefit of use by Te Huruhi School and Waiheke High School due to the proximity.
Local Board have long supported a pool facility on Waiheke. They have recently set aside $213,000 for use in investigative work and design for this current project. The Pool Society does not hold this money, but it can be released as required for these initial stages.
Due to Waiheke’s uniqueness we must consider the water source and waste water in any plans. As the proposed site is on Ministry of Education land we must reach an agreement with all parties. There must also be a structure around the liability and on-going operating of the pool. Which group is going to be willing to take on the liability should the pool run at a loss? We support the community’s desire for an aquatic facility, but everyone must also recognise the limitations we face for funding a facility and finding land for this purpose.
Things to consider
Auckland has a population of around 1.72 million people. Waiheke has 9,000, which is approximately 0.5% of the Auckland population. Even if we assumed the “rateable” population of Waiheke was 3x the population it would still rank as a small part of Auckland at 1.6%. There are 27 council operated pools in Auckland, an average of 1 pool per 63,700 people. The numbers presently do not stack up for Auckland Council to fund and operate an aquatic facility on Waiheke.
The Te Huruhi Community pool receives great patronage over the summer months, and we thank the community for their support. We have a desire to create a facility that can be used year round with a broader range of activities through increasing the size and depth, but one that is not a financial burden to the ratepayers of Waiheke or that has to be subsidised to operate.
If you see yourself as wanting to get behind the project, then we would welcome your support, especially if it is financial! Please feel free to contact us to help support our cause. We hope this has answered some questions and that we can all move forward to achieve our goal. If you have any questions or would like to offer some help, we would love to hear from you – [email protected] – with Thanks, Waiheke Pool Society