Outcry over closure of Tinwald Pool

Aerial shot Tinwald Pool during the 2022/23 summer.
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Supporters of the Tinwald Pool are devastated district councillors decided to permanently close it.

But two women who fought for the pool believe a swimming pool will reopen at the site.

More than 60 supporters commented on the news posted by The Ashburton Courier following the decision on Thursday last week.

‘‘Terrible decision, such a wonderful place to take the kids,’’ said one woman. ‘‘This is a wonderful outdoor complex in a beautiful setting, what a waste,’’ said one man.

Many accused district councillors of already having made up their minds prior to consultation, which was part of the district council’s Long Term Plan, to be adopted next month.

Thirty-two per cent of LTP submitters wanted the pool saved, 29 per cent wanted an outdoor pool built at EA Networks Centre instead. Remaining results were 18 per cent – hydroslide at EA Networks Centre, 9 per cent – do nothing and 6 per cent – build a waterplay area at the Ashburton Domain.

At the LTP decision making meeting on Thursday, district councillors chose one of the least popular options, to do nothing, thereby permanently shutting the pool and saving ratepayers up to $3 million. They all voted for the motion, except Cr Lynette Lovett who abstained.

Lovett did not vote on any of the motions at the meeting; she explained at the start she would not be voting as she had been away for the hearings and deliberations.

She clarified to The Ashburton Courier this week she was on a group tour overseas. While originally scheduled around the hearing and deliberation dates, these were later brought forward when it was too late to change her holiday times. She would however be voting in yesterday’s second LTP meeting.

Longtime pool supporter Cr Leen Braam defended the district council decision to close the pool when spoken to by The Ashburton Courier.

 District councillors vote for the motion not to spend any money on water-based leisure, thereby closing the pool. Livestream screenshot

‘‘We can’t just keep on spending if we can’t afford it,’’ Braam said. He is also chair of the Tinwald Reserve Board, which will now work with the district council on investigating an alternative option for the site.

He said this could be a community barbecue area. In terms of replacing the pool with a new one, he said ‘‘Never say never’’.

Tinwald residents Tina Cox, who submitted a 872-signature petition to save the pool, and Myshell Box, will keep fighting.

Cox said the ideas discussed by councillors of the site becoming a paddling pool or water play area were ‘‘totally ludicrous’’.

She would consult with Methven community pool committee members to get ideas. She also wanted to get an independent assessment on what it would cost to fix or replace the Tinwald Pool.

Box is joining the reserve board, which plans to consult with the community on uses for the site. She also wanted to see more than just a paddling pool.

‘‘One choice could be a smaller pool maybe, one that wouldn’t need four lifeguards,’’ she said.