Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Home stretch for new Gisborne pool complex

Gisborne’s new $46 million Kiwa Pools complex is set to open to the public on 2 September after a roller coaster build that has endured pandemic lockdowns and five states of emergency.

“We’re grateful for the Government’s $40m funding for Kiwa Pools which was part of its nationwide Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) funding in 2020. Council has contributed $5.65m towards this project,” said Gisborne District Council Mayor, Rehette Stoltz.

“This is a big complex and it’s very exciting for Tairāwhiti.”

The facility was co-designed with Ngāi Tāwhiri hapū and built by Apollo Projects Ltd and features three inside pools:

  • a 50m x20m pool with moveable floor
  • a leisure and toddlers’ pool
  • and a learn-to-swim/hydrotherapy pool.

Ngāi Tāwhiri kaumatua, Thelma Karaitiana says the name ‘Kiwa Pools’ was gifted by the Kaumatua of Ngai Tāwhiri Hapu to symbolise the history and traditions of the people of Turanganui a Kiwa, and to mark the significance of the land where the complex is located.

“The collaboration of the partners throughout the build has been outstanding,” she said.

Council Chief Executive, Nedine Thatcher Swann acknowledged those who had persevered through the challenges over the last two years to bring the facility to fruition.

“We’re ecstatic to let you know, Wednesday 23 August will be a significant date with the official pre-dawn opening ceremony followed by the official ribbon cutting ceremony for Kiwa Pools,” said Ms Thatcher Swann.

“This is a great milestone to be able to announce. It’s important to recognise all the mahi undertaken since the land was blessed by Ngāi Tāwhiri on 2 August 2021.

“The designs of Sir Derek Lardelli of Lardelli Arts are throughout this complex to ensure the cultural narrative of our region is woven into the design of Kiwa Pools.

“Our subcontractors have also worked tirelessly on this project. During Cyclone Gabrielle some subcontractors ended up driving for 17 hours to get to site.

“We are extremely grateful for everyone’s mahi. We know what an anchor the Olympic Pools have been within our community since it was first built in 1974.

“Like many other public pools of that era, it was originally designed as an outdoor facility used only during the warmer months.

“Kiwa Pools will be somewhere we can go in all types of weather,” she said.

Kiwa Pool Aquatics Manager, Campbell Macgregor says energy usage for the aquatic facility will be supplemented by $810,000 of solar panels funded through last year’s second tranche of Three Waters’ Better Off Funding.

“The solar panels will provide a sustainable energy source for this facility,” said Mr Macgregor.

“This will reduce our reliance on non-renewable sources, improve energy resilience and keep operational costs of the new complex as low as possible.”

He said the 50m pool at the old Olympic Pool Complex will be demolished, along with the administration building, as soon as the new complex opens.

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