‘Outstanding’ Opuke opens its doors

Mid Canterbury’s latest economic drawcard has been described as money well spent amid challenging times.

Methven’s Opuke Thermal Pools and Day Spa was officially opened yesterday by community leaders and Regional Economic Development and Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

The long-awaited opening of the $15 million facility follows several delays, the latest being due to supply chain issues and lockdown after it was originally slated to open at the end of 2020.

The project received a 50 percent funding injection through the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund and is the third largest project in Canterbury to receive backing through the funding stream.

Following a tour of the facility, Minister Nash described it as “world class”.

“This is the sort of project we envisioned helping when we set up the Provincial Growth Fund,” he said.

“It’s going to provide a level of resilience to the local community.

“It’s outstanding.”

Several of Mid Canterbury’s community leaders also had their first glimpse at the attraction during Wednesday’s formalities.

Although there had been the economic brunt due to the onset of Covid, the Opuke pools would be a key haven for domestic tourism which would gather momentum heading into summer, Nash said.

“Kiwis are travelling, and this will be a destination,” he said.

“Domestic tourism spending in Canterbury was worth $1.44 billion in the year to September 2021, an increase of 25 percent on the previous year, and up 21 per cent on pre-COVID spending in the year to September 2019.”

Rangitata MP Jo Luxton said the opening of Opuke, alongside Ashburton’s new look CBD, marked some positive times to end what had been a challenging year for Mid Cantabrians.

“We had the terrible start earlier in the year with the floods that we saw,”

“The really good thing about this is Methven traditionally known for winter and skiing.

“This provides a year-round option as well and that just creates an additional reason to come here.”

– Adam Burns