“A fantastic result.”
That from St Albans Pavilion and Pool Group President Paul Somerville after a Resource Consent has been approved for the build of a new complex on the former pool site on Edgeware Road.
“The huge effort and time everyone put in, engaging with the community, liaising with neighbours was well worth it,” he says. “The majority of submissions supported the pool project, but a small number of local residents had written submissions against the proposal. We met with them late last year, talked through their concerns, then made some changes which were mainly related to operating times and heights of fencing, and managed to get agreement which was fantastic. The negotiations and meetings with the residents were very proactive and positive.”
Local City Councillor Pauline Cotter (Innes Ward) said the news today is a “great milestone”.
“There’s been such hard work, patience, resilience and sheer tenacity from our community to reach this point. They have been working on this for ten years, during which most either lost their homes or suffered major damage from the quakes,” she says.
Cotter adds that this development will further add to the vitality in Edgeware.
“The cycleways are well advanced, there are interesting plans for the old Mitre Ten store, our local greengrocer has expanded and the planned landscaping for the shopping precinct – this is going to add to an amazing hub for our community,” she says.
The St Albans Pavilion and Pool Group says once the appeals period passes, the way will be clear for the council to make the ownership of the land available to the community for the pool redevelopment, as agreed unanimously by the city council last year.
The plan is to build a 25-metre heated outdoor pool and an outdoor children's pool. Clubrooms, changing rooms and toilets will also be built. Paul Somerville says the group has already been approached by groups interested in offering learn to swim classes.
“There’s so much interest and excitement in the pool returning,” he says. “We are looking forward to forming a community trust, which will then begin raising around $3m needed to build the pool complex.”
Somerville and Cotter both praised the many people who have so far contributed their time and expertise, particularly Ray Edwards from Urbis.
“Ray has been awesome,” says Cotter. “He has been there from the start, with a huge amount of experience, input and facilitation. The group could never have done this without him and his team,” she says.
Pauline Cotter adds that this project is a great example of communities seeing a need and being tenacious in finding a way to make it happen.
“The community has been so supportive and we will all need to work very closely together soon as the real work starts,” she says, referring to the fundraising.