Plastic drastic fix

Pool update: Council sports and recreation boss Simon Battrick at Alpine Aqualand in December, with the temporary ceiling above

Queenstown’s council is in talks with its lawyers over a $2.6 million swimming pool repair job – while it’s emerged the same design team was involved in another pool with problems.

Council-funded Alpine Aqualand, at the Events Centre, closed to the public for five weeks last summer when problems with air flow above the learner and spa pools caused ceiling tiles to fill with moisture and fall off.

Temporary repairs were made – a ceiling of plastic sheeting and tape – while council looked for a long-term solution.

Sports and recreation boss Simon Battrick tells Mountain Scene that’s now “coming to the end of its useful life”.

The pool is expected to close again in September for “several weeks” for full repairs. That involves ordering specialised tiles and parts for an additional ventilation system from overseas.

The $18 million facility is just over a decade old but Battrick says it would be premature to comment on whether council will take legal action against those involved in building it.

He says it’s way too early to be pointing fingers at anyone.

“We are still in the investigation stage of things,” Battrick says.

“We never want to be in a position of having to close pools and services to the community.

“Pools are complex facilities and things go wrong with all pools at times, so it’s not out of the norm, but certainly this came as a little bit of a surprise.”

Council is expecting feedback from its lawyers within a month.

Battrick’s been in touch with ASC Architects to provide an update on what’s going on, while he says the designer, from LHTDesign, involved with the pool died a few years ago.

Interestingly, an aquatic centre part of the Westland Recreation Centre in Greymouth was forced to shut for seven months in 2017 when the roof slumped and other layout issues occurred, just eight years after being built.

Grey District Council chief executive Paul Pretorius con-firms the same design team – LHTDesign and ASC Architects – was involved in building its $11 million facility.

The pool section of the centre was dogged with problems, including tiles in the spa pool, showers and family rooms coming off, high levels of moisture in the tower of the water slide, as well as leak and drainage issues.

It cost more than $1.5m in repairs and an income loss of $250,000.

The council pursued claims against a number of parties, Pretorius says, but couldn’t provide details on who was at fault due to confidentiality reasons.

It only managed to claw back $300,000 in damages after paying out legal fees.

“It has been a cause of great anger, disappointment and frustration to council,” Pretorius tells Scene

Battrick couldn’t comment on issues at the other pool. Councillors will make a decision on funding on June 27.

ASC Architects and LHT-Design couldn’t be reached by deadline. Last week, ASC Architects director Neil Cotton told Scene he was proud of Queenstown’s award-winning pool, and had been reaching out to council to find out what’s been happening.

Designers LHTDesign confirmed the staff member involved with the pool died a few years ago and the nature of the business had since changed.