Resort takes code brown crown

SHARE

Queenstown’s main swimming centre has its own serial pooper - or poopers.

Pools at the Events Centre’s Alpine Aqualand were closed seven of eight consecutive Monday afternoons in February and March due to poos.

And they’ve closed a total of 16 times already this year, while staff fished out faeces.

Lost revenue and clean-up costs total thousands of dollars.

Invercargill’s Splash Palace Aquatic Centre hit international headlines earlier this year after a mystery pooper forced its closure six Fridays in a row.

But it appears Queenstown now takes the poo crown.

Council spokeswoman Michele Poole says: “It’s obviously very difficult to ascertain who exactly the contamination originated from each time.

“But due to the large number of incidents after school hours and that all toddlers must wear swim nappies, we believe it is likely an older child or small number of children whose parents mistakenly believe are no longer in need of toilet reminders.”

Maree Waring takes her two children to the pool for lessons each Monday.

“It’s been closed a lot recently - but you can’t blame the pool, the staff are being more vigilant and it’s just how it goes,” she says.

“We’ve been swimming when it’s happened. Everyone’s told to get out immediately - and they all do, immediately.”

Mum Mel Henderson says: “We swim Tuesdays so are not personally affected but another lady told me there’s some phantom pooer every Monday - seven out of eight Mondays.

“It’s ridiculous. She says it’s 4.30pm every time.”

Another parent, Zane Kaihe, says: “Our lesson is at 5pm and when we turn up the main pool’s generally closed.

“It’s always a code brown.

“Then you’ve only got the lap pool - so you get one lap with the kids before their lesson, which is pretty chaotic.”

The leisure pool was closed 14 times, while the learners and lap pool were each closed once.

Lost revenue and clean-up costs range from $200 to $1000 a time.

The pool can be closed for up to four hours each time - but they’ve been poo-free the last two Mondays.

Staff are talking to parents before they swim and reminder signs have been put up.

Poole: “Most parents have been very supportive of our efforts, understanding that although we can address any incident after the fact, we cannot stop it from occurring.

“Our lifeguards are always alert to the possibility, closely monitoring the water to ensure any incident is isolated as soon as possible.”

Swimmers who vacate the pool get a refund, a voucher for a free swim, or can swim in an alternative pool.

Adults pay $8 to swim, children $3.

Alpine Aqualand’s annual maintenance shutdown takes place later this month in two stages.

From April 18 to April 26, all facilities are closed. The lap pool will remain closed until May 3 for a complete overhaul including a new gas boiler system to ensure more consistent pool temperatures.

The council will consider the future of the facility’s two swim schools at its April 30 meeting in Wanaka.

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz