Council springboards into Aquatic Centre makeover
28 October 2022
Rotorua Lakes Council is preparing to start construction of the next stage in the Rotorua Aquatic Centre multimillion-dollar makeover, after securing $8.05 million in Government funding.
This next phase (Stage Two) will focus on upgrading the main pool hall and front-of-house area.
The indoor facilities will close on 20 November for construction to begin, with the 50m outdoor heated pool and outdoor reception remaining open throughout construction.
Together, Council and Central Government will contribute $23.45m to Stage Two of the project, with the refurbished facility anticipated to open in early 2024. The Government portion is Rotorua Lakes Council’s entitlement under the Three Waters Reform ‘Better Off’ fund which Council determined would be used to progress the Aquatic Centre project.
Rotorua Mayor, Tania Tapsell, says this is an important project for the community.
“The Aquatic Centre is a hugely important asset to our community and we are very pleased to see this revitalisation project get underway.
“This is a much-loved facility, providing our community with not only a safe environment to learn to swim, but also a space for water sports, exercise, gatherings and recreation.
“Based on feedback from the community we know the Aquatic Centre is in need of an upgrade. I am very much looking forward to delivering a revitalised, fit-for-purpose centre to our community.”
Council Community Wellbeing Deputy Chief Executive, Anaru Pewhairangi, says the project was consulted on as part of consultation for the 2018 – 2028 and 2021 – 2031 Long-term Plans, with clear community feedback in both rounds supporting the upgrade.
He says the multi-faceted project isn’t just cosmetic.
“Built nearly four decades ago, this significant community asset is well overdue for revitalisation, to enable the facility to continue safely operating into the future.
“We need to address the facility now before the building’s lifespan is significantly impacted – we want to ensure our staff and users have a modern, fit-for purpose facility that will support our community for years to come.
“We also want to create a facility our community loves, uses and is proud of. The community have told us they want this upgrade and we’re thrilled to see it becoming a reality.”
The outdoor 50m pool and outdoor changing facilities were refurbished in Stage One of the project, which cost $3.9m and was completed in 2021.
Stage Two involves a reclad of the main pool hall, including a transparent roof with UV protection, relining of the leisure pool and refurbishing the reception and indoor changing rooms, providing modern, accessible facilities and more family-friendly spaces.
Mr Pewhairangi says closing all the indoor facilities enables the project to be completed safely, in the most cost effective manner, maximising the budget for facility improvements in Stage Three.
Stage Three will see upgrades to leisure attractions that may include a hydroslide, splash pad and new fitness centre.
Rotorua Aquatic Centre Facility Manager Leah Burgess says that while the redevelopment is a considerable undertaking, the reward outweighs the construction wait.
“Our team is excited and ready for this revitalisation – it will give us a new sense of pride, coming to work each day in a modern and vibrant facility.
“We understand how important our facility is to the community – we host many events, birthday parties and lessons and will be in touch with anyone who has a booking after 20 November 2022 to try and accommodate them in our outdoor facility or make alternative arrangements.”
To cool off this summer the local community is encouraged to make use of the region’s lakes. To warm up, the Aquatic Centre’s outdoor heated 50m pool will still be available, as well as other local swimming facilities like the Polynesian Spa, Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, Hell’s Gate, Secret Spot, the new QE facility which is expected to open early 2023 and the new Wai Ariki Hot Springs & Spa, also expected to open early 2023.
Council began work on the Rotorua Aquatic Centre redevelopment in 2020.
The initial upgrades (Stage One) focused on refurbishment of the 50m outdoor pool and the outdoor changing rooms and these were completed in March 2021.
This next stage (Stage Two) will focus on the revitalisation of the indoor pool hall, reception and indoor changing room area.
As part of consultation for the 2018-2028 and the current 2021-2031 Long-term Plans, the community told Council that it values the Aquatic Centre as a facility for locals to use and enjoy with clear community feedback supporting the upgrade.
For more information about the Rotorua Aquatic Centre Revitalisation, visit Vision to Action here.