The writing may be on the wall for a new swimming pool in Mt Albert to replace the decaying aquatic centre.
The 20-year-old centre in the grounds of Mt Albert Grammar is on borrowed time in more ways than one – and there are signs it will be replaced in the “inner-west” by a new pool in the Whau local board area. Perhaps in Avondale or New Lynn.
It could even be the inner-west will be without a pool at all for three years or so.
The centre, which draws around 340,000 visitors a year, has no future. It started to leak around 10 years ago and Auckland Council spent $3.2m in 2015 on a wide range of repairs.
The revamp was designed to keep the pool running for a maximum of 10 years, giving an expiry date of 2025 or sooner. Perhaps as early as 2022 or 2023.
Also hanging over its head is the MAGS wish to claw back its land for carparking and school buildings to meet the demands of a roll which is now over 3000. When the aquatic centre was built, before the school was opened up to girls, the roll was around 1400.
The Albert Eden Local Board has been working to keep a new pool in Mt Albert and has suggested room could be found for it in a redeveloped Chamberlain Park, or in Rocket Park behind the YMCA, though each of those options would have neighbours concerned at traffic volumes.
But the news doesn’t look promising.
Mayor Phil Goff’s 10-year budget allows for $25m on new pools for the north-west of the city (by 2028) and the inner-west (soon after 2028), according to the Herald. But the funds will not be released for five years.
The budget is still to be confirmed, though the timeline suggests the area will be without a public pool for at least three years once the aquatic centre closes.
The budget documents say the sites for the two new pools haven’t yet been determined.
However in news that will disappoint Mt Albert people, there is reference to a recommendation in an “indicative business case” report that the inner-west pool be sited in Whau.