Possible pool site polarises

Site for sore eyes . . . Mosgiel Caravan Park operator and lease owner Paul Brooks supports a recommendation to build the town's new aquatic facility built near the gymnasium in Mosgiel Memorial Park. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Mosgiel people will soon find out where their new pool will be built – but it might not make a splash with everyone.

Dunedin city councillors will vote on adopting a recommended site for the facility on July 30.

The Dunedin City Council remains tight-lipped about the location of the site but The Star understands it is on the existing car park, next to the grandstand and gymnasium in Memorial Park.

Councillors visited the site last week in preparation for the vote, The Star understands.

A grass area in the park, which includes an Athletics Taieri long-jump pit, would become a car park, which motorists would access from Gordon Rd, The Star believes.

The pit would be the only sporting facility being removed, The Star understands.

The car park at Peter Johnstone Park would be improved to increase its capacity, The Star believes.

The council has invited representatives from affected sports clubs to a meeting about the recommended site in Mosgiel next week.

To get the new pool built, Taieri Community Facilities Trust raised about $3.5million, guaranteeing a $10.8million contribution from the council.

Trust chairwoman Irene Mosley declined to speculate on the location of the site.

“The trust doesn’t care where it goes – as long as we get a site.”

The public being “so generous” and then having to wait for the project to progress had been hard for the trust.

“Wherever the site is, we will be happy.”

A site the council had considered for the facility was the existing Mosgiel Pool site and the neighbouring council-owned Mosgiel Caravan Park.

Caravan park operator and lease owner Paul Brooks, of Outram, said if councillors adopted the recommended site, he would smile.

He preferred the car park site because it was next to other sports facilities and was safer and easier to access from Gordon Rd than the existing Mosgiel Pool site.

“From day one I’ve been saying that’s where it should go . . . Don’t it make sense?”

Mr Brooks would prefer a row of mature trees in Mosgiel Memorial Gardens, which border the car park, be felled so the facility could be built there. Then the existing car park, could remain a car park and the grass area with the long-jump pit could remain.

Peter Sim, whose home in Gordon Rd is about 50m away from the proposed site, fought to keep the gardens out of possible areas in the park where the facility could be built.

He expected the recommended site to “disappoint” a lot of people.

If the facility was built on the car park near the gymnasium it would “devalue” the experience of people walking north in the gardens, by blocking their view of a “vista” of open green space.

“I wouldn’t be happy with it – I think there are alternatives.”

He preferred the site of the existing Mosgiel Pool and making motorists access the site from Peter Johnstone Park car park.

“We now find ourselves in the position where the council has the final say and we’ve got no redress.”

Athletics Taieri president Lyn Mackay, of North Taieri, speaking on her own behalf, rather than the club, said Athletics Taieri had its clubrooms on the eastern side of the gymnasium and it would be good to have the pool facility included in the range of sporting facilities in the area.

A concern was the potential loss of car parks.

When several sports fixtures were played in the area at the same time, the car park spaces near the gymnasium, Peter Johnstone Park and along Reid Ave were “absolutely chocka”.

She hoped an existing car park outside the clubrooms would remain accessible.

“We have para athletes who need to get to our facility for their training.”

If the club’s long-jump pit was removed, she hoped the council would make green space in the park available for the club to install another pit.

Mosgiel Association Football Club vice-president Neville Watson, of Mornington, said he wanted a site which would not sacrifice any football grounds, allowing Memorial Park to remain the club’s “home base”.

The association’s clubrooms were between Athletics Taieri clubrooms and the gymnasium.

The club’s membership was growing so if any grounds were lost, some teams would need to play on other grounds, such as Brooklands or Walton Park.

“We’d lose that club base feel.”

A pool facility being built on the gymnasium car park would alleviate those concerns, he said.