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Napier Aquatic Centre RedevelopmentTe whakawhanaketanga o Te Whare Puna Kaukau o Ahuriri

The new aquatic centre will deliver on our vision to be a vibrant and sustainable city for everyone to enjoy, by providing an excellent facility and a public service that supports people’s well-being, now and into the future.

Napier Aquatic Centre at Prebensen Drive

The new aquatic centre will deliver on our vision to be a vibrant and sustainable city for everyone to enjoy, by providing an excellent facility and a public service that supports people’s well-being, now and into the future. 

NAC Mockup

After the Napier Aquatic Strategy was adopted back in 2015, two independent consultants, both based in Wellington, were brought in to assess the development of a facility at the Onekawa site. They were The Building Intelligence Group (TBIG), who are Construction Project Management specialists, and Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), a multi-national corporation specialising in cost management, quantity surveying, project management and advisory services. Their feasibility studies highlighted significant risks with the Onekawa location, which drove Council to explore options for alternative sites.

The main issues that were identified with the Onekawa site was the risk of contaminants in an old landfill underground, which are currently covered and sealed by a layer of clean soil. These contaminants are safe while left undisturbed. The groundworks will require digging to a far greater depth than a standard residential build, and could create a health risk by exposing airborne contaminants, as well as the risk of a cost blow-out due to unknown factors.

The decision to change from a 50m pool to a 25m pool was made when a new 50m pool was confirmed for the Regional Sports Park in Hastings. It was decided that the region doesn’t need two pools of that length within close proximity.  Sport New Zealand also supported this decision and endorsed the development of the Aquatic facility at Prebensen Drive. The new site at Prebensen Drive is capable of extending to a 50m pool in the future, if there is the demand for it. 

Moving to a new site at Prebensen Drive means the wider community and current regular users of the Onekawa pool will not be without a pool during the 18-20 month construction period. Being without a pool for that length of time would seriously impact many groups that use the pool, such as learn to swim classes, swimming programmes and clubs as well as those who use it for general leisure and play. The Napier Aquahawks Committee support Council’s plan and looks forward to working with NCC as the project progresses.

After the pool has moved, the Onekawa site will be turned into a new recreational space for the community to enjoy. This will likely see the splash pads remain and more activities added such as a ‘pump’ bike track, playground, climbing frames, children’s exploring tunnels as well as more open space.

Your questions answered

Why demolish the Onekawa pools? The pool has just been strengthened.

If the earthquake strengthening work hadn’t been carried out on the Ivan Wilson building housing the main indoor pool, spa pools, hydroslides and learners’ pool, we would have had to close two years ago.

Isn't Onekawa the community’s sports hub?

The current site has pools, netball/tennis courts and Omnigym, but there are other businesses there which are not recreation-related. There isn’t much room to expand. The Prebensen Drive site is 7ha, providing much greater potential to create a recreation hub in the future if required. It will also be close to Park Island.

Won't the proposed facility, based on Christchurch’s new QEII facility, be too small and will need immediate expansion?

No. The new design will increase the number of lanes from 11 to 17, include a 32-seat spa pool, and increase the size and features of leisure and play space. Providing too much pool space that will be unused most of time adds significant cost to both the build and operating costs, increasing the burden on ratepayers.

Why move it away from schools?

There are other schools which will be closer. Moving a facility will always have those that benefit, and those that don’t.

Is the site is next to a 100 km/h expressway?

No. Access will be from Tamatea Drive, which we are consulting on changing from a 70 km/h zone to be a 50 km/h zone. Currently 91% of users drive to the facility. There is an iWay pathway near the site now, foot and cycle traffic will be considered as part of the project.

The whole community should be able to access aquatic facilities. The current site is on a bus route, what about the new location?

The proposed site is 3.2km away from the current site. There’s little difference in the size of the population living within a 3km radius of both areas, and there is large population growth closer to the new site. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, which manage the bus routes, is willing to look at making any required changes to routes and stops.

What is the vision for the new aquatic centre?

When looking at all options of the new aquatic centre, decisions were based on the how the facility will benefit our communities’ health, wellbeing and cohesion, and can be a source of community pride. This is further broken down into six key areas.

  1. Aquatic visitors: Increase the number of people participating in aquatic sport and active recreation
  2. Community pride: Drive a major increase in community engagement satisfaction with aquatic facilities
  3. Water safety: Teach more Napier residents to be safe and confident in water
  4. Balance outcomes: Ensure we have the right balance of space and utilisation among our four outcome areas, which are sport development, leisure and play, water confidence and health and fitness
  5. Value for money: Deliver value for money for our ratepayers and our users
  6. Social cohesion: Improve social cohesion and inclusivity through ensuring all Napier residents benefit from the new facility.

What are the main considerations when assessing a new aquatic centre?

There were three main areas of consideration that we looked at when deciding where to build the new aquatic centre, as outlined below:

  • Benefits: Allows for future expansion, continuity of service, impact on neighbours during construction, impact of change on residents and enhancing city pride
  • Risks: Contamination, long-term health risks and construction, and traffic
  • Financial: Capital and operational costs, plus the possible financial risk.

What are the risks associated with the Onekawa site?

The Onekawa site is built on an old landfill, with the likelihood of buried hazardous materials such as asbestos, oil and lead. We won’t know the exact levels or quantities of these materials until the ground is literally peeled back and opened up. Not even test drilling will guarantee what is below the surface, as there could be contaminants either side of any drill hole. Any contaminated soil will require a special process to remove, with the potential of significant cost and time increases to the project. There is also the risk that contaminated gases and dangerous dust particles could leak into the air.

What was the criteria when considering an alternative site to Onekawa?

When the risks and costs (contamination, pool closure) associated with the Onekawa site were known, we looked at a number of alternative sites to understand if there was a better location. All alternative sites were considered based on the following criteria:

  • Was the site Council owned
  • Was it centrally located and accessible
  • Was there sufficient space for the complex, and parking
  • How much work would be required to provide services to the site
  • Would it be compatible with adjacent uses
  • Was there space for future growth
  • How visible was the site, and would it raise community pride.

What are the benefits of the Prebensen Drive location?

The site has many positive attributes that was evident when feasibility work was undertaken:

  • It will cost $1.2 million less to develop and build the same facility, than at the current Onekawa site
  • Increased financial risk associated with the costs of managing and removing contaminated soil from the Onekawa site
  • Existing pathways provide good links to neighbourhoods
  • Close proximity to Park Island sports hub – creating good synergies between recreational activities and the opportunity to further strengthen links with these groups
  • Strategic and central location with good access for local resident and regionally (via the Expressway)
  • Total usable development space of approx. seven hectares that would allow for any type of future expansion – due to increased user demand, growing population, a change in community requirements or other facilities across the region
  • Highly visible location 

How does Prebenson Drive stack up, compared to Onekawa?

The tables below show how the two locations stack up against the project vision and build requirements.

jpeg images pg 1 800

Is it really more expensive to build a new pool at Onekawa, compared to Prebensen Drive?

The latest cost estimates from consultants RLB, reflecting the August 2018 market, shows the Prebensen site to be $1.2 million cheaper than Onekawa. More accurate costings for each site will be provided when the tender process has been completed. There is a high likelihood of additional cost increases at the Onekawa, due to dealing with contamination at the site.

Current cost estimates are:        
Onekawa: $44,330,200
Prebensen Dr: $43,130,200

How much will the new aquatic centre add to my rates?

The new pool will increase the average rates amount by $67 per year, or $1.29 per week, as outlined in the Long Term Plan 2018-2028.

Project Timeline

LTP approved by council (including Aquatic Centre) – June 2018

Design and build tender work commences – Nov 2018

Design and build contract awarded – Mid 2019

Design and construction period – Mid 2019 - Mid 2021

Opening – Late 2021


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