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Christchurch City Council Media Release 10 September 1999

Qe II Pool Upgrade To Go Ahead

A mezzanine floor will be included in a $20.5 million upgrading of Queen Elizabeth 2 swimming pool complex.

This was decided at a special meeting of the Christchurch City Council today when several Councillors objected to proceeding with a mezzanine floor before tenants for it were confirmed.

The council reconfirmed that maintenance upgrading to the existing building proceeds at a cost estimated at $11.1 million. It also decided to build a new 51-metre, 10-lane competition swimming pool in a new enclosure beside the existing building.

A new teach pool and leisure pool with a wave machine will be built on the site of the present 50-m pool.

The new mezzanine floor will be above the new leisure pool.

The cost of building the new competition pool, the leisure pool, and mezzanine floor are estimated at $20.5 million.

The QE 11 manager, Alan Direen, said when the pool was first built for the 1974 Commonwealth Games it was done in haste for $5 million. "We can see clear evidence of the haste but we have a unique facility," he said.

Three years ago its poor condition was noted and now $11 million was needed for deferred maintenance.

Mr Direen said a mezzanine floor would provide a feature of a multi-sport training centre or even could be an entertainment centre, such as a cinema.

Cr Graham Condon said it would be grave mistake to defer building a mezzanine floor and Cr Carole Evans said the council had to show courage to take the "step to produce an international sporting centre for Christchurch."

The courage, shown by those who built QE 11 in the first place, had to be shown again, she said.

Cr Carole Anderton said the city had to progress and keep up with overseas facilities. "Let us give the people what they want in a up-market leisure centre," she said.

Certainty was needed about the tenancy of the mezzanine floor before deciding to build it, Cr David Close said. Cr Denis O’Rourke, however, did not want to proceed in view of the council’s rate of capital expenditure. The council faced several un-budgeted high capital ventures along with long-term debts, he said.

Not enough money was planned to come into the city in the next few years and already many millions had been taken out of the budget, he said. "We are taking off very large amounts of capital expenditure from basic services and at the same time struggling to control our long-term debt. We cannot do everything at the same time," Cr O’Rourke said.

He warned of rate increases and said the latest proposal in the current climate "could only be described as profligate."

The Mayor, Garry Moore, said the council should hang its head in shame over the lack of maintenance at the pool. He said he was in favour of the enhancements but nervous about the mezzanine floor before tenants had been signalled. "This is within our budget. I believe we have a carefully planned budget and this figure is already in it," he said.

Finally the mezzanine issue was passed by 17 to three.

Further information:, QE 11 manager: 383 6712

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