Splash Centre Extension - Friday Council meeting: "Build it now" - 26/04/2006An extraordinary meeting of the Wanganui District Council this coming Friday will debate a recommendation from Mayor Michael Laws and Cr Rangi Wills that the council should fund the outstanding amount for the Splash Centre extension and call for tenders immediately.
Due to both construction-inflation, and refined plans (see illustration), the Splash Centre cost has risen from a projected $4.5 million in 2005 to $5.4 million.
"Every day we delay," says Mayor Laws, "the cost escalates. It is time for Council to honour the Referendum '05 results and underwrite the venture immediately. Let's build it now."
Council had originally agreed to commit $2.5 million to the Splash extension with contributions from the Whanganui Community Foundation ($800,000), Powerco Trust ($500,000) and anticipated community fund-raising ($300,000). There was still a project shortfall of $1.3 million.
Mayor Laws and Cr Wills say that Council should fund the additional funding from the sale of council assets and property. Most of those have been identified in the draft LTCCP (long-term council community plan) recently released for public input.
"There will be no impact upon rates. In papers to be presented to council on Friday, council officers have estimated the additional running costs as being able to be met from a combination of increased useage, increased user charges and sponsorship. That is good news indeed.
"We are aiming to build the facility to be one of the best in New Zealand. It will have the capacity to generate extra revenue from the twin hydroslides, the café and a small gym. In short, this will be a family-friendly facility of which all Wanganui will be proud."
Mr Laws said that should Council accept the joint recommendation, then the facility would be open for the summer of 2007/08.
"The hydro-slides will cost almost $1 million of the total price. But, without them, we would miss out on a major attraction of the new Splash. Better to take the plunge now, rather than pay more later, or end up with something inferior.
"Council needs to be bold, and on Friday, I'm picking that it will be."
Aerial illustration of how the new Splash Centre will look