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Swim, Gym And Sport Staff On Their Marks To Reopen On Saturday

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) will reopen most of its remaining sport and recreation facilities at 8.00am this Saturday (16 May) including swimming pools, indoor courts, outdoor turf, gym and group fitness studios.

In addition, council-managed venues like Arrowtown Community Centre and Athenaeum Hall, Lake Hayes Pavilion, Lake Wanaka Centre, Luggate Community Centre and Queenstown Memorial Centre will be available to existing groups and new bookings.

QLDC General Manager Community Services Thunes Cloete said there would be a staged reopening, focusing first on core services, in line with national guidelines following Aotearoa New Zealand’s move to Alert Level 2 this week.

“The team are on their marks and set to go. Opening on Saturday will enable the management and staff to regroup, undergo training and implement the measures required by central government for us to operate safely and give our users the most positive experience possible at Level 2,” he said.

“Many of our sport and recreation staff have been seconded to assist the council’s welfare effort and other essential roles in the district’s Covid-19 response while facilities have been closed. Huge thanks to them for adapting to this unprecedented challenge and making a positive difference to members of our community, many of whom will have been regular users of our facilities.”

Dr Cloete confirmed some facilities and programmes would initially remain closed while staff implement new systems to ensure the ongoing safety of customers and staff. These include the hot pools at Queenstown Events Centre (QEC) and Wānaka Recreation Centre (WRC), the hydroslides and indoor climbing wall at QEC, and Playtime – the childcare facilities for gym members at QEC.

A date for the resumption of learn-to-swim classes will be confirmed as soon as possible.

“It goes without saying that safety is our number one priority. This is uncharted territory for everyone so we’re working closely with Sport NZ, Recreation Aotearoa, Swimming NZ and other organisations to give our customers confidence that we are operating correctly under a whole new ‘normal’,” he said.

Several changes have been implemented as a result of customer feedback to an online survey conducted during lockdown which received nearly 500 responses.

“Members and casual visitors will see lots of visible changes such as plenty of hand sanitiser, screen guards at reception, signage, capped numbers in swim lanes, the removal of some shared equipment to create more space, and fewer numbers in fitness classes which will need to be booked in advance. We are also stepping up our cleaning regimen through the day and using a brand new anti-microbial product that’s effective on surfaces for 30 days,” said Dr Cloete.

The nine-hole course at Frankton Golf Centre reopened on 29 April in line with government guidelines on activities permitted at Alert Level 3. The move to Level 2 means that the centre is now able to reopen its driving range, pro shop and bathrooms although the clubhouse will remain closed pending review ahead of Level 1. Some restrictions on play, including the need to book ahead, remain in place.

“I’d especially like to thank our members, user groups and other customers for their patience. We’ve posted a steady stream of online workouts and ideas to keep active since lockdown began, but I know the return to some form of normal routine will be a major boost to everyone’s physical and mental well-being,” said Dr Cloete.

Full details of operating hours, activities and how to save money by becoming a member at Queenstown Events Centre and Wānaka Recreation Centre are available on the council website or by calling 03 450 9005 (QEC) / 03 443 9334 (WRC).

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