2 September 2014
Community workshop planned for Mataura
The Gore District Council and Mataura Community Board will host a community workshop early next month to ascertain the future needs of Mataura as part of the lead up to the 10 year Long Term Plan process.
On the agenda will be the future of the Mataura swimming pool and whether there is a better way to utilise the money spent on the pool for the township’s residents.
This week elected members and senior staff held a workshop to look at pool patronage, operational costs and what the future may hold. The Council also launched a survey today at the Gore Aquatic Centre as part of a wider aquatic services review.
Chief executive Stephen Parry said the workshop will help crystallise the issues and enable informed commentary in the Long Term Plan, as well as a better informed community.
Mr Parry believed the debate was not so much about closing the Mataura pool but more about looking at potential opportunities to meet the current and future needs of young people in the township.
He stressed it was still early days and the workshop was the start of an extensive community engagement process. A date and venue for the workshop will be notified soon.
Mr Parry said the Council’s aquatic services team has made a considerable effort in recent years to boost patronage at the Mataura pool. However, swimmers have stayed away even when the Gore Aquatic Centre was shut for maintenance earlier this year.
During the six weeks the aquatic centre was closed and the Mataura pool remained open to cater for swimmers, there were 2,239 people through the door. In the same period the previous year when the Mataura pool was closed for the season, 14,000 people visited the aquatic centre.
Chief financial officer Luke Blackbeard said missing out on just under 12,000 customers equated to a significant dip in income.
The Mataura pool has traditionally been an expensive facility to run. With an average of 20 visitors a day during the season, which includes swimmers and spectators, the average cost per swim over the last four years was $22.07. The cost per swim at the aquatic centre was $11.93.
Ratepayers in Gore and the rural rating areas are the major contributors to the Mataura pool’s operating costs, Mr Blackbeard said.
The pool is funded via a ward rate and the uniform annual charge. The annual contribution per rating area was:
- Gore Ward: $86,357 (63.64 percent)
- Rural Ward: $33,471 (24.66 percent)
- Mataura Ward: $11,053 (8.14 percent)
- Industrial: $4,825 (3.56 percent)
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said it was important the entire Mataura community has a chance to consider opportunities for the town that would get better uptake from residents and potentially be a district or regional attraction.
“The community workshop is the place to bring ideas for the future. It’s easy to say change nothing, we are happy with what we have now. But that doesn’t address the pool’s lack of use, which needs to change,” Mr Hicks said.
Mr Blackbeard said the survey at the aquatic centre was aimed at finding out where people who visit the pool live. It will remain open for a number of weeks.
The survey has been designed so that it’s easy and captures people's imagination as well as the information.
“What we have come up with is a token box. Everyone who visits the pool will be given a green plastic token to drop into one of four boxes, which will represent where they come from.”
The boxes will be marked Gore, Mataura, Rural and Out of District.
By identifying where users come from, the Council can better plan for the future of the pool, Mr Blackbeard said.