Public purse for repair costs

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Queenstown’s council won’t be taking legal action against companies involved in building the resort’s main pool over a multi-million dollar repair job needed to fix the ceiling.

Alpine Aqualand, at the Events Centre, will be closed for three months from September 30 while contractors fix air flow problems and replace the ceiling.

The popular swimming spot was closed for five weeks last summer after roof tiles above the learner and spa pools filled with moisture and plunged into the water.

The temporary solution – a ceiling of plastic sheeting and tape – is no longer doing the job.

Repair works include installing two new ventilation units, installing new air socks in the pool area, retiling the ceiling, relining both the leisure and lane pools, and other maintenance jobs.

It’s expected to cost $2.3 million, while income loss is likely to hit $400,000.

The $18 million ratepayer-funded facility is just over a decade old.

But sports and recreation boss Simon Battrick says council is unlikely to take “formal recovery proceedings” against those involved in the building because of the time that’s passed since construction.

That decision was made after council sought legal advice on recovering some of the costs.

As Mountain Scene revealed, the same design team, LHTDesign and ASC Architects, was involved in a Greymouth centre which had problems. That $1.5m case ended in a $300,000 settlement.

Queenstown council’s instead re-allocated capital money to pay for the repair work.

Meantime, Arrowtown’s pool will open the same day Alpine Aqualand shuts.

It’s usually only open for business for three months in December because it’s too cold to open earlier.

However, a heating system will be installed in the open-air pool to boost water temperatures to 28 degrees, so people have somewhere to swim comfortably.

About 20 Alpine Aqualand staff will be redeployed to Arrowtown, and some staff will take leave when the Queenstown pool is shut.