Pool advocates seek recruits

Friends of Te Puke Pool need new members

Stuart Whitaker






From beginnings born out of frustration, Friends of Te Puke Memorial Pool has gone on to have a positive impact. Now, new blood is needed. The group was formed after Jo Page spoke at a Te Puke Community Board meeting in 2019 about the amount of time the pool seemed to be closed due to equipment failure and the general condition of the complex. Jo was to eventually chair the new group, but has decided now is the time to stand aside. “We are worried about getting a full complement of new offices and getting a new chair,” says treasurer Peter Miller. “For the community, we need to get new people on the committee,” says Jo. “It was started out of frustration on my part because as I felt not everybody has a pool in the backyard and the children of Te Puke badly need things to do.” Peter says the group has always modelled itself on Katikati Swimming Pool which has a strong, supportive group behind it. He says since the group was formed members have put in a lot of time and effort and made huge improvements. Jo believes the pool has had more support from the council since the group was formed. “As far as our group was concerned we had to look at where we would start, and I think one of our biggest things was getting managers on board.” Cathy and Tony Shaw took over the managing of the pools at the start of the 2020-21 season. ”[Then] we had to look at what needed to be done at the pool — the heat exchanger wasn’t working and it hadn’t really been cared for all that well. The covers weren’t being used because they were hard to manoeuvre. “It also needed lots of sprucing up and trees attacked and fences attacked.” Regular working bees have been held and Department of Corrections community workers also put in a shift at tidying up the grounds. A new heat exchanger should be in place for the next swimming season, its arrival delayed by Covid. As well as the practical work, the group has also been sourcing funding. “That hasn’t been very successful only because of lockdown,” says Jo. One application that was approved was to TECT which granted $33,000 for the heat exchanger and new covers that can be put in place by one person. “The council then came forward and matched that money,” says Jo. The council has also recognised the need for a new pool in the town through its Long Term Plan. “One of the things that came out of all of this, which was fantastic, is Te Puke suddenly got to the top of the list for a new pool,” says Jo. The Friends of Te Puke Memorial Pool is likely to play part in the decision about where the new pool will be, making it an ideal group for anyone with an interest to join, says Peter, who says the group is “basically a lobby group”. Jo says being a member of the group doesn’t come with a big time commitment. “It’s just enthusiasm to keep it going until we get the new pool because even if the new pool starts in five years’ time it won’t be built in a week and [the group] will be needed to raise more money.” The Friends of Te Puke Memorial Pool’s AGM is on June 30 at 7pm at the pool.