CERA to Purchase Centennial Land – Good News for Pool

Published: Tue 21 Aug 2012 12:54 PM
Tuesday 21 August 2012
Media Release: For immediate release
CERA to Purchase Centennial Land – Good News for the Future of Pool
Save Centennial understands that the Christchurch City Council has received a letter from CERA to purchase Centennial’s land to include in the new Frame.
Spokesperson for Save Centennial Simone Pearson, says they are hopeful that because of CERA Chief Executive, Roger Sutton’s public position* supporting the urgent reinstatement of pools to assist recovery in Christchurch, Centennial Pool will not only be saved but will become a key part of The Frame, for families and children.
She says the support from City Councillors to investigate repair of the pool, has also been a positive step, and Save Centennial is looking forward to the decision at Thursday’s Council meeting relating to the signing off of funding to investigate repair of the pool.
“The Council and CERA have an opportunity to make a real difference to our recovery and we are confident that CCC and CERA can work together to ensure funding for this worthwhile project so that the needs of the community are met,” says Pearson.
“Councillors understand and appreciate how important it is that there is access soon to a public pool on the eastern side of the inner city, as well as reducing the pressure on all the swimming pools that are currently located on the west of Christchurch” she says.
Pearson and her group have been promoting a repair for Centennial, which they say will create a safe facility addressing the immediate community needs of access to a public pool in the area while construction of a new metro facility is underway, which is planned to take at least four years to build.
Save Centennial says the repair of the Centennial Pool will help address the need of the wider community including children, the elderly, the disabled, workers and families, residents as well as having an immediate impact of bringing new activity, trade and life back into central city in short order, not years in the future.
“While we recognise there are people suffering with lack of access to housing and basic infrastructure, it doesn’t have to be either or, and considering initial estimates suggest the comparatively low cost of $1.8 million to repair Centennial (as opposed to rebuilding), and this will deliver immeasurable social and health benefits to the community,’ says Pearson. Page 2 of 3
“Without this repair to Centennial, we are likely to have thousands of children who are unable to swim or who swim poorly, to say nothing of the health benefits the wider community will miss out on,” she says.
Simone Pearson says the city has managed to build a temporary rugby stadium in an incredible time with a sizeable budget and well done to everyone involved. The news in June that the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre is to reopen with $1.1 million of help from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal is a huge boost for everyone as obviously local and central Government recognise the importance of aquatic facilities in our communities.
“Centennial is a year round facility used by a huge range of people in a community and we look forward to Council repairing it urgently.”
Note: Simone Pearson will be making a deputation before the Christchurch City Council. The decision on the future of Centennial will be debated and decided later in the meeting.
Roger Sutton’s comments (source: Radio NZ):
*‘I think it's important we get some big gutsy community facilities going pretty fast. We've lost a lot of our swimming pools a lot of our sports facilities. Getting some of those things going again because for a lot of people that's very frustrating…’.
Roger Sutton when asked where he would spend the $100 million in the Earthquake Recovery fund, the cost to repair Centennial represents less than 2% of this fund (National Radio, Morning Report 5/08/11)
Background information:
1. The Centennial Sports and Recreation facility is located within the inner city in Christchurch. Reports commissioned from the Council by BECA show Centennial can be made safe and repaired for a cost to ratepayers of $1.8-$2.3 million to a standard “as new”.
2. Repairing Centennial will deliver immeasurable benefit to the community in a short time frame for low cost for the local community, returning office workers, tourists and the burgeoning construction work force.
3. There have been no public pools on the east of Christchurch for the past two years with the closures of Centennial, QE 2 and Waltham. The west of Christchurch has four public swimming pools. Centennial is urgently required to provide a local facility for the thousands of residents in the inner city, St Albans and the eastern suburbs including; Linwood, Opawa, Woolston, Ferrymead etc.
4. 50% of school pools were damaged in the earthquake and if a generation of children does not learn how to swim they risk contributing to the present Water Safety Council statistic that each year an average of 20 children under the age of 15 drown, the third highest ranking in the world. There are many schools in close proximity to Centennial who would benefit from access for their ‘learn to swim programmes’.
5. In the year preceding the February 2011 earthquake, Centennial and QEII attracted 1000 and 5,500 visits per day respectively, with both these facilities closed this has a significant impact on the opportunities for staying healthy and well and minimising the stresses of post-earthquake Christchurch. The construction of the new metro facility will replace the lost capacity from QE2 but it will not replace the community facility provided by Centennial for the local residents, schools and as a Transitional City facility.
6. The metro sports facility is planned to take four years to build including; design, planning, consent, build and commission, this may be a best case scenario in terms of time estimates and may take longer. Centennial Pool can be repaired almost immediately.
7. Retaining Centennial is consistent with Christchurch Central Recovery Strategy to provide an accessible city that is ‘easy to get around’ and provides ‘excellent walking’. Centennial will be less than 500 m from the following amenities: Convention Centre, Hotels, Central Library, Performing Arts Precinct, The Square. 55,000 city workers are expected back in the inner city, Centennial will provide easy access from their workplace as Centennial is only 480 m from Cathedral Square. Centennial is also located within easy walking distance of the inner city residential population.
8. Centennial is a recreational facility and is located within the new ‘east frame’ which is designated to include “leisure and recreational activities” (page 80, ‘Amendments to the Christchurch City Council’s District Plan’). Les Mills, a private gym also located on the ‘east frame’ has been reported as staying according to Roger Sutton. There is no shortage of available space to place a children’s playground on ‘The Frame’ and the community has shown considerable desire in repairing and retaining the Centennial pool.
9. Locating Centennial Pool beside a playground would be complementary for year round “wet/dry” play. Centennial could become a pool focusing on families, schools etc leaving the Metro sporting facility for sports events and swim squads whilst not compromising access to a pool for leisure swimming and casual lane swimmers not part of a swim club.
10. The inner city population is projected to grow to 25,000, and attracting young families is a target of the population growth – the Centennial Pool facility will be needed to attract and accommodate new families to the inner city.
11. Over 50% of all 2678 submissions received by the CCC on the Annual Plan supported repairing and retaining the Centennial Pool.

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