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Principals peeved that pool might go

Masterton primary school principals oppose the potential demolition of some of the Trust House Recreation Centre pools. PHOTO/TOM TAYLOR

Masterton primary school principals are making a splash about the prospect of losing their community pool to make way for the town’s new civic facility.

The district’s 14 primary school principals were unanimous in their opposition to the demolition of the pools, a possibility indicated in architect sketches for the site of the civic facility.

However, Masterton District Council [MDC] said that the architect’s sketches were not intended as options or designs.

“They are not proposals the council will choose from; they are early sketches exploring how the site could be used,” a spokesperson said.

When it goes, it’s not coming back – it’s not going to be rebuilt somewhere else.
– Lakeview School principal and Masterton councillor Tim Nelson

Earlier this month, Masterton councillors voted to pursue site investigations for the town’s civic facility project at council-owned land, including the Trust House Recreation Centre pools.

Architectural company Architectus provided three sketches showing various possible layouts of the facility.

Some sketches would need the demolition of the recreation centre’s outdoor lido pool or smaller indoor lane pool.

The larger indoor pool remained intact in all sketches.

Hadlow Preparatory School principal Andrew Osmond. PHOTO/FILE

The Masterton primary school principals cluster, chaired by Hadlow Preparatory School principal Andrew Osmond, said that demolishing the pools could impact water safety for children in the district.

“If we take this out, it will be an absolute travesty.”

Osmond said Hadlow used the pools four to eight times a week during Terms 1 and 4.

He said each of the pools served different purposes.

“Even in summer, it’s great having an indoor pool, but it’s hot and stuffy in there, and it’s not the same as being outside in the pool here.”

Solway Primary School Principal Mark Bridges. PHOTO/FILE

Solway Primary School principal Mark Bridges was concerned that the entire community would suffer if any pools were removed.

“Any child in Masterton can access these pools. Kids from certain homes have pools at home, or their parents can take them to the beach, but this is something that anyone in Masterton can walk to and access.”

Dave Finlayson, principal of Opaki School. PHOTO/FILE

Opaki School principal Dave Finlayson said some of the district’s schools did not have pools.

This is the only venue they’ve got to teach them water safety.
– Dave Finlayson

Of Masterton’s 14 primary schools, eight had pools.

However, keeping school pools open during summer presented health and safety challenges and needed staff to continue with maintenance schedules.

Fernridge School principal Janine Devenport. PHOTO/FILE

Fernridge School principal Janine Devenport said her junior school used the pool for swimming sports.

“They can touch the bottom, it’s accessible, and you also have good viewing for parents and whanau around here,” she said.

Masterton councillor and Lakeview School principal Tim Nelson said the council had created a recreational zone at the north end of town, with the newly revamped skatepark and the Kids Own Playground across the road from the pools.

“They’re all awesome community-owned assets. Why would you take one away?

“When it goes, it’s not coming back – it’s not going to be rebuilt somewhere else.”

Lakeview School principal and Masterton District councillor. Tim Nelson. PHOTO/FILE

Nelson voted against exploring the land around the recreation centre as a potential location for the civic facility.
A spokesperson for MDC said that no timeframes had been set for a decision on the location.

“The information provided by Architectus was simply early sketches to show what might be possible.”

The spokesperson said that discussions with stakeholders would be part of developing any plans.

“The mayor contacted representatives of a number of stakeholders in early March to advise them of work being done to look at possibilities at the site.

“The next step involves sitting down with them to discuss the project with members of the project team. This will happen shortly.”

The spokesperson said other stakeholders included iwi, the RSA, Golden Shears, the Lions Club, and recreation centre managers Belgravia Leisure.

Related stories:

Council set to weigh up civic options

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