Council approved a new location for the indoor facility of the Olympic Pool Redevelopment.
Site contamination and geotechnical investigations of Churchill Park’s green field area next to the current Olympic Pool site are already underway with preliminary results expected back by the end of April.
Relocating the indoor facility alleviates challenges associated with building new aquatic infrastructure over the top of an existing and aging network-critical sewer pipe.
It also respects the position of mana whenua with regard to the cultural and spiritual issues associated with human waste.
Council agreed at their meeting on Thursday 18 March, that pending problematic geotechnical investigation results, the contingency plan would be to decommission and reroute the existing sewerage pipe.
Council Chief Executive Nedine Thatcher Swann says Council is committed to building a facility which meets the needs of the whole community.
“The proposed changes are a result of this commitment. Our expert project team has been working with key stakeholders such as Ngai Tāwhiri and the Game Changing Opportunity Group to understand their concerns and long-term objectives.”
Sir Derek Lardelli and his wife Rose attended the meeting along with Ngai Tāwhiri hapū representatives Thelma Karaitiana and Stan Pardoe.
During a co-design process with Ngai Tāwhiri the proposal to relocate the main indoor facilty has received significant support.
Thelma Karaitiana of Ngāi Tawhiri, says Council and hapū representatives are working in the spirit of protecting the whenua.
“Mana whenua have a cultural duty of care to the people and the environment, and the relocation of the facility is an informed resolution to risk adverse matters".
Ms Thatcher Swann added that another advantage of relocation is the ability for visitors to keep using the existing pools while the new facility is built.
Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti (SGT) chief executive Stefan Pishief says the sporting community is excited by what’s planned.
“This will be an amazing facility that benefits everyone in our community. We commend the Council for listening to the voice of mana whenua, and for recognising the opportunities that the new site will provide. This is the right outcome."