'Once in a Lifetime' Learn-to-swim Project Approved

15 December 2011

Wellington City Council will give nearly half a million dollars to redevelop the swimming pool at Wellington East Girls College in Mount Victoria. At today's Strategy and Policy Committee meeting, the committee voted to give a grant to The Swimming Trust of Wellington to carry out the work.

The project will enable 4,500 schoolchildren to access a heated indoor pool during the school day. Other schools within a 15-minute walk of the pool include Wellington College, Wellington High School, St Marks Church School, Mt Cook Primary and Clyde Quay Primary.

The $450,000 was allocated from the Council's School Pools Partnership Fund, which was established last year specifically to help teach children to swim. A condition of the grant is that the Swimming Trust will provide a service for nearby schools, water-sports clubs, surf lifesaving organisations and the wider community.

Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Garry Hurring - who championed the project - says it is a "once in a lifetime opportunity to create a full size 25-metre pool and a 12-metre learning pool under one roof - for the fraction of the cost of a new pool".

The Council's Grants Subcommittee Chair, Councillor Stephanie Cook, says the project is a win for schoolchildren who need better access to learn-to-swim programmes and for the community, as it will ease pressure on the city's already crowded existing aquatic facilities.

"This is a great example of how government can work in partnership with schools and the community to achieve the best and most cost-effective result," says Cr Cook.

"Everyone knows there is increasing demand for space at our existing pools and we've managed to find a way of getting more kids in the water so they can learn to swim.

"It's not just good for the kids, this new facility will also provide extra space for swimming and water polo clubs, surf lifesaving and community groups. It really is value for money."

Construction is scheduled to start next year and should be completed in 2013.