Users of Wanaka’s long-awaited new pool have expressed frustration at some teething problems at the fresh-faced facility.
Several parents have expressed disappointment in wasted journeys, arriving to find that the learners’ pool was busy with lessons and that they were not allowed to take children under eight into the lap pool.
Emma Collins, who paid $16 for herself and two children last week, found that they couldn’t swim as the learners’ pool was full with swimming lessons.
“We were very excited but got there and could not swim. The kids' pool was taken up with swim lessons, which is fine, but when I asked if the kids could swim with me in the big pool as it was empty I was told no as they need to be over eight years old,” Emma said.
“If I had been told at the front desk that we could not actually swim I wouldn’t have bothered. We stayed for about ten minutes and left feeling very disappointed.”
Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) communications and marketing advisor Sam White said that staff were monitoring usage patterns with a view to providing swimmers with more detail about peak and off-peak times before the beginning of term three to help them plan their visits in advance.
“Information will cover the learners’ pool for both swim lessons and recreational use. We hope that the community understands that teaching kids to swim is an essential life skill and does take priority,” Sam said.
The temperature of the facility has also been criticised, with some complaining that it was far too cold to enjoy a swim.
“The toddler shallows were pretty chilly and more importantly the ambient air temperature was very cold, meaning as soon as we got wet even having your shoulders out of the water meant freezing,” said another parent.
“My three-year-old loves to climb out and jump in, but after a short time doing this she was turning blue from the air temperature.”
Sam said that pool temperatures were consistently monitored and set at recommended levels of 27.5°C for the lap pool, 32°C for the learners’ pool and 39°C for the hot pool.
He added that the council was trialling different pool and lane allocations and welcomed feedback from customers, especially in the pool’s early days.
Peak times at the pool were proving to be from 3.30pm to 7pm on weekdays with Wednesday afternoons currently showing to be the busiest period.
“We recommend parents bring their kids for fun play outside these times whenever possible, with Saturday afternoons and Sundays being good options at the moment.
“We have already received several constructive suggestions as well as plenty of positive comments about the new facility for which we’re very grateful,” Sam said.
Pictured: The learners’ pool and toddlers' area at the official opening of the facility nearly two weeks ago. Photo: Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun
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