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Naenae Pool Closes Following Engineering Report

Hutt City Council has tonight decided to close the main Naenae swimming pool facility after receiving engineering advice that has raised concerns about the building in the event of a significant earthquake.

Mayor Ray Wallace says the decision has been made after considering a number of factors, with safety of the public and staff the number one priority. He says an upgrade was planned for the Naenae Pool in the near future which would have required the building to be closed for up to 18 months at that time. He says given that, and Council’s priority for public safety, the decision has been made to close the building now and get work underway urgently to determine the next steps.

“We’re not legally required to close the building, but given the information we’ve now received, officers believe this is the right decision in the interests of public safety. Councillors are fully supportive of this decision. Naenae Pool is a valued and well-used community facility with 450,000 visits every year, so we know the closure will be a significant disappointment and disruption. But we believe it is the right decision.

“Council will now urgently determine the next steps assessing the various options. We had budgeted for an upgrade, but given what we now know, we need to step back and look at the best way forward for community facilities in Naenae, including likely additional cost.”

The results of the partial seismic assessment for the Main Pool Hall Facility area structure of the Naenae Olympic Pool Facility indicate an overall rating of less than 34% New Building Standard or NBS. This area houses the main pool, fitness suite, meeting rooms and offices.

The original outdoor pool was built in 1956 and the main pool was covered in 1986. A new learners’ pool extension was added in 1997, with the old outside learners’ and toddlers’ pools replaced, and enclosed in a new timber frame building. The fitness suite was added in 2007.

Manager of City and Community Services Matt Reid says Council had planned to upgrade some aspects of the pool with $9m budgeted for this in the 2020/21 financial year, but more significant work as signalled by the engineering report had not been envisaged.

“Unfortunately the situation with Naenae pool is not uncommon around the country as many councils undertake engineering assessments of their buildings. It’s our role to understand what the issues are and to take action to safeguard the public and our staff. As well as systematically assessing our current building stock, we have a programme of work underway to rejuvenate many of our facilities.”

“In terms of Naenae Pool, we now have the opportunity to look at the bigger picture. In the short-term, we will accommodate as many Naenae pool users as possible in our other Council pool,” says Matt Reid.

ENDS

Background Information

• Comprehensive engineering assessments have been underway on all of the structures that comprise the whole Naenae pool complex. The Naenae Learners’ Pool closed on 1 December 2018 following a Detailed Seismic Assessment. Engineers have been working since that time on a remedial plan which would enable the Learners’ Pool to reopen. At the same time an updated engineering assessment was being completed on the main pool.

• A written report on the main pool was received on 10 April 2019 advising the results of the partial seismic assessment for the Main Pool Hall Facility area structure of the Naenae Olympic Pool Facility indicated an overall rating of less than 34% New Building Standard or NBS. This area houses the main pool, fitness suite, meetings rooms and offices.

• Staff are now working on arrangements to transfer bookings for regular pool users to other council-run facilities.

• To see the engineering report and memo re decision to close Naenae pool: http://www.huttcity.govt.nz/naenaepoolclosure

• People and groups who use Naenae Pool and Fitness can contact us on 04 567 5043 or on email naenae.pool@huttcity.govt.nz.

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