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Support for Grey District Swimming Pools

13 June 2008

Support for Grey District Swimming Pools

Spring Creek Mining Company, owner of Spring Creek Underground Mine, near Greymouth, will contribute $350,000 to a major community initiative to upgrade, heat and roof the Runanga swimming pool, while Solid Energy today announced it will contribute $750,000 to the new Grey District Aquatic Centre.

Last year Spring Creek Mining Company, the joint venture between Solid Energy and Cargill, asked the Runanga community, through the community consultative group set up around the mine, to prioritise projects for support in the local area. The pool upgrade emerged as the top priority for the town.

Spring Creek Mining Company will contribute $350,000 to the estimated $800,000 pool upgrade. The local community, through the Runanga Community Swimming Pool Trust Inc, has already raised more than $200,000 over the last 15 years for the pool upgrade. The Grey District Council has committed to underwrite the balance of the funding and will continue to maintain and operate the pool, while the Trust will continue fundraising to repay the Council loan.

The outdoor pool, built by the community 60-75 years ago and owned by the Council, operates from December to March/April with around 2000 admissions a year, mostly children and teenagers, and is extensively used by the Runanga Primary School. Covering, upgrading and heating the pool will extend the swimming season by up to two months; increase its use by the 105 school pupils and potentially treble after-school, weekend and holiday swimming. The Council expects to confirm a construction timeline for the pool upgrade within the next two months.

Solid Energy Chief Operating Officer and Spring Creek Mining Company director, Barry Bragg, says: “Solid Energy and Cargill are really pleased that the community has singled out this project for our support as it’s at the heart of the local community and it will have a big positive impact on the life of the town, particularly for local children. The Runanga community have done a great job raising money for the pool upgrade over many years but unfortunately every time they came close to achieving their goal, costs escalated and higher standards had to be met. It’s great that we can now help to make their dream a reality.”

Chris Frogley, Chair of the Runanga Community Swimming Pool Trust, said he was absolutely delighted that Spring Creek Mining Company was supporting this community project. “Runanga has had a long association with the mining industry and I think it is most fitting that the mining company is working with the local community. After 15 years of fundraising it feels great that we will now achieve the goal we set ourselves back in August 1993, thanks to Spring Creek’s support.”

Solid Energy will contribute $750,000 towards the new Grey District Aquatic Centre which the Council is currently constructing on High Street, Greymouth. The $11 million recreational facility, which includes a lap pool, toddlers pool, leisure pool and two hydroslides, is scheduled for completion at the beginning of 2009.

Barry Bragg adds: “This money, together with Spring Creek Mining Company’s support for the Runanga Pool, acknowledges the long association between our industry, the communities of Runanga and Dunollie and the wider Greymouth District and, coupled with the success of our mine at Spring Creek, underlines the long-term commitment that we have as a business to the area.”

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said that the $750,000 contribution to the new Aquatic Centre and $350,000 sponsorship of the Runanga Pool, to be called the Spring Creek Aquatic Centre, is an incredible goodwill gesture. Solid Energy is already a big sponsor throughout the West Coast via the rescue helicopter and many other initiatives so this ongoing support of our community is generous to say the least.

Mr Kokshoorn said that after five years of fundraising, the Aquatic Centre committee is now only $200,000 away from fully funding the project’s total cost of $11 million. Council has also committed the final funds needed to enable the re-build of the Spring Creek Aquatic Centre to commence as soon as possible. Both existing pools are well past their use-by dates.

The new aquatic centres will deliver top quality facilities for young, old and families throughout the district. Having good recreational infrastructure is essential for retaining and attracting the skilled workforce needed for the fast expanding economy of the Grey District which is underpinned by coal, farming, and the tourist industry.


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