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Petition fails to save Ashburton pool from summer closure

Petition fails to save Ashburton pool from summer closure
A petition failed in its bid to change council's mind and the gates of the Tinwald Pool will remained locked this summer. PHOTO JONATHAN LEASK/LDR

An almost 900-signature petition has failed to save Tinwald Pool in Ashburton - for this summer at least.

The petition asked for the Ashburton District Council to redirect “wasteful expenditure” to allow the pool to re-open.

In September, council decided to close the 50-year-old pool due to it leaks, staffing shortages and the cost of maintenance.

The community launched a petition to reverse the decision, but the council’s position remained unchanged when they met on Wednesday.

“It’s definitely not opening this summer, it is in disrepair," Neil Brown said.

"It needs a lot of work done on it to bring it up to speed.”

It is the only outdoor community pool in Ashburton but as it leaks 17,000 litres daily, the plant is failing and, along with staffing shortages, the council deemed it was untenable to open this summer.

A decision on the future of the Tinwald Pool will be considered in the long-term plan (LTP) 2024-34 process, including an estimated $3 million rebuild.

Council chief executive Hamish Riach said the LTP was the right place to discuss the pool and a business case would be presented for consideration.

The Save the Tinwald Pool petition has been led by Tina Cox.

When the council planned to relocate the town centre water fountain in 2019, Cox started a petition to help halt the plan.

She said she hoped for a similar outcome with the Tinwald Pool.

The petition received 872 signatures. Of those, only 220 lived in the Ashburton District, 469 living elsewhere in New Zealand and 180 lived overseas.

Three signatures were deemed invalid.

Councillor Phill Hooper presented the petition to council on behalf of Cox, who was unable to attend.

“They are not happy with the decision to close this summer and want to save the pool going forward,” Hooper said.

Mayor Brown said the community would have the opportunity to save the pool through the LTP process.

“It will be discussed through the long-term plan process and then whatever decision we make will be out for consultation.

“Whoever signed [the petition] or wants to contribute in the long-term plan process will have another opportunity to tell us what they think when we give a direction on whether we should repair, replace, or not.”

By Jonathan Leask