Thursday February 1, 2018
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Phone: (04) 587 1660 Address: 23 Broderick Rd, Johnsonville P.O. Box 38-776, WMC 5045. Fax: (04) 587 1661
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New college swimming facility arrests school pool decline Continued from page 1. It was first touted in 2008 when concern about the pool’s lack of use and declining condition began to grow, correlating with an investigation into the state of Wellington’s school pools. “The school pools in Wellington were disappearing at a great rate,” Steve says. “A survey found 111 swimming pools in operation in Auckland. In Wellington we could find only 11. “Each year we hear about drowning statistics going up and schools not taking swimming lessons.” Steve met with Gary Hurring of CitySwim, which runs a Learn to Swim programme, and agreed investment was needed to avoid the pool deteriorating into an unusable condition. “We told the board of trustees we wanted to save it,” Steve says. With the financial support of the WEGC Parents Association, the school and the trust began a Pledge Me fundraising drive and attracted sponsorship from 16 organisations, mostly other community trusts. Despite underestimating how much a dome and modifications to the pool would cost, “the school helped us along and said ‘keep going’,” he says. The crucial catalyst to the project coming to fruition was the
Mayor Justin Lester, Swimming Trust of Wellington chairman Steve Hind, CitySwim director Gary Hurring and Rongotai MP Paul Eagle under the new Aquadome. PHOTO: Jamie Adams
Wellington City Council voting to set up a Schools Pool Fund to address the decline. “If it wasn’t for the council putting aside $200,000 from the fund this would never have happened,” Steve says. Eventually exactly half the cost was met by the council. WEGC principal Sally Haughton says the Aquadome is a testament not only to people who swim but also how people can mobilise around an idea. “The pool is not just about eastern suburbs swimmers but also families,” she says. “I’m really happy that it will connect across community and other schools.” Gary says the $1.3 million cost
was a bargain considering the project included transforming the 30m pool into a trainingsuitable 25m pool, with the remainder converted into a learners’ pool. “Others have paid $10-25 million for an indoor heated pool,” he says. Several current and former councillors attended a ribboncutting ceremony on Saturday. Mayor Justin Lester and former deputy mayor Paul Eagle were both pleased the council of the time had the foresight to support the project over investment in other pools. Paul, now part of a Labour-led Government, says he has re-
quested ministers Chris Hipkins and Grant Robertson put some education funding into school pools. Justin agrees, noting that despite being a country surrounded by water, one in seven children can’t swim. While WEGC students will be the primary users of the pool, other visiting school students will swim for free while community groups will pay for hireage. Along with CitySwim charging for Learn to Swim classes, the revenue will help cover maintenance costs and other initiaives to come later, such as a $100,000 air handling system to prevent condensation in the winter.
Bike advocate believes he CAN cycle 3000km 22,700 copies weekly
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Wellington cycling advocate Patrick Morgan is swapping an office chair for a bike saddle for the next month. Starting on February 10, he’s riding the 3000 km Tour Aotearoa from Cape Reinga to Bluff. “You might be surprised how sedentary my work can be,” Patrick says.
“Although I love what I do for cycling, there’s a lot of keyboard bashing, phone calls and meetings. I can’t wait to start the ride.” More than 600 people will line up for Tour Aotearoa, starting in six waves over a two-week period. It’s not a race - riders have up to 30 days to reach Bluff, following
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cycle trails, quiet roads and a few highways. They must carry all their own gear. Patrick’s goals are to complete the event and to raise $20,000 for Cycling Action Network (CAN), which advocates for safety, for more cycleways, and to get more kids on bikes. “When we succeed, we get
healthier people, more fun, and better cities,” Patrick says. “Our new Government means amazing new opportunities to make progress on safe and attractive biking.” People can donate at CAN’s Givealittle page. (https:// givealittle.co.nz/cause/touraotearoa2018)
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Cook Strait News 01-02-18