Waterworld and Library work approved

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Two long-awaited Hamilton assets are soon to undergo major renovation work following Hamilton City Council decisions.

Refurbishment of Hamilton’s Waterworld swimming complex will begin in February 2018.

Hamilton City Council has agreed to bring forward $5.7 million in 10-Year Plan funding to undertake a range of essential repairs and upgrades at the 40-year-old facility.

The total cost of the refurbishment is $10.72 million.

Condition assessments revealed numerous pieces of essential filtration, water supply, pipes and air conditioning equipment have reached the end of their useful lives and replacement has been identified as fundamental for the continued safe operation of the pools.

Cosmetic issues relating to the facility’s flooring (in some areas) and ceiling have also been cause for concern, says community development and leisure manager Debbie Lascelles.

Hamilton Pools’ staff have been working with an international consultancy firm to plan for the refurbishment for about 18 months, and now identified the refurbishment as urgent and essential, says Ms Lascelles.

“We’ve been carefully managing our pool for several years, and we’ve now reached the point where we must fix it up to keep it running,” she says.

The work is scheduled to begin in February 2018, and much of the investment will go into staff-only plant and machinery areas of the facility, or into assets such as lights and air conditioning systems.

The scale of the refurbishment job will require a five-month temporary closure of Waterworld’s 25-metre, 50-metre, toddlers and dive pools.

Learn to Swim classes and group fitness sessions will continue during the refurbishment, and customers will still have access to the facility’s sauna and gym. Hamilton Pools’ staff also plan to keep the hydrotherapy pool, hydroslides and outdoor pool open while the rest of the facility is refurbished. The outdoor pool, traditionally only open in summer, will be heated as needed while the other pools are unavailable.

Ms Lascelles says the closure will impact on customers and swimming and water sports stakeholders, who had been advised of the significance of the planned project and supported it.

Gallagher Aquatic Centre, the council’s other swimming complex, and facilities which form the Partner Pools arrangement will be available to customers when Waterworld’s main pools are unavailable.

Meanwhile, work on earthquake strengthening of Hamilton’s Central Library will also proceed following a council decision.

The council voted 10-1 in favour of a $635,200 project which will see work undertaken in back-of-house areas, to bring the building’s New Build Standard (NBS) rating up to 34 per cent, and allow the library to reopen.

The library was closed in November 2016 due to concerns about its ability to withstand a seismic event. A particular concern was an area of the building around a stairwell, in a staff-only area. The council’s senior managers were not prepared to keep the building open when its NBS rating was 15 per cent. A “pop-up” library has operated in the Council’s Municipal Building Reception Lounge as an interim measure.

Rebecca Whitehead, Hamilton city libraries director, says work required to repair the building has been scoped and tender documentation has been prepared.

“Now we have the green light from the council, we can go out to tender, find contractors who can do the job, and arrange for the work to begin,” Mrs Whitehead says.

Put simply, the repair to the Central Library will see floor sections of the building strapped together using super-strong carbon fibre strips. The repair method has been recommended by engineering experts.

The repairs will take about eight months, and timelines will be confirmed once a contractor has been confirmed.

Mrs Whitehead says libraries staff have been appreciative of the support from customers and understood the frustration the Central Library closure has caused.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘quick fix’ for our library. It will remain closed for several more months while the repairs are done, so we do need further patience from our customers for a while longer.”

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