Heating up the community swimming pool

23 Nov 2021

Heating up the community swimming pool

A fundraising campaign is underway to ensure locals and visitors can make the most of the community swimming pool at Mercury Bay Area School and to obtain a new above-ground pool for the MBAS primary school.

Many who attended MBAS as students would have memories of swimming in the community pool during summer for a range of reasons - class lessons, swim sports and swim club after school. Others may have arrived in Whitianga as adults and headed down to the pool on a summer’s morning for a few laps before starting their day.

No matter the reason people used the pool for, they will remember that it always closed as quickly as it opened as the water became too cold to swim in. That will be changing as the Mercury Bay Community Swimming Pool Trust, the trust responsible for management of the pool on behalf of the community, has formally embarked on a journey to purchase a water heating system for the pool as well as covers to ensure no heat escapes unnecessarily.

From when the trust was established 10 years ago, the trustees and volunteers taking care of the community pool were looking for ways to ensure the pool could be used year-round.

“The local swimming club has gone through some major changes over the past few years and now have some pretty awesome coaches and even a masters’ class,” says Chloe Wilson, one of the pool trustees. “Although MBAS is such a large part of the local community, the community pool is there for everyone to use. The excitement that a lot of people have for getting the pool heated is really cool to see. With the pool being heated, it will allow so many more opportunities for so many people, from little babies to older people and swimmers of all abilities.”

The trust is also helping MBAS to raise funds for a smaller container pool to be located at the primary school. In 2015, the school was gifted a small above-ground pool by the charity, Poolz in Schools. The pool was meant to last a mere three years. However, with the way it was maintained and cared for by both the Mercury Bay Community Swimming Pool Trust and the school, its lifespan was extended to almost six years.

“We need a new smaller pool as the gifted pool, which is now at the end of its useful life, has been instrumental in us successfully teaching over 100 of our youngest students to swim,” says MBAS deputy-principal, Anne-Marie McDougall. “The pool was heated which meant no lost time for lessons. A replacement pool will enable our younger age groups to continue to participate in the Learn to Swim courses we offer and more able swimmers from a young age will be developed in in our community.” 

Use of the smaller pool may well go beyond the Learn to Swim courses offered by MBAS. It may potentially be available for physio and occupational therapists to use as a tool in the recovery of their patients. Such use will mean an even larger part of the Mercury Bay community will be able to be involved with what the trust and MBAS have to offer.

Heating of the community swimming pool and a new container pool for MBAS are costly projects and the Mercury Bay Community Swimming Pool Trust is now looking at applying to various funders. One of the funding requirements is proof that the idea is both needed and supported by the community. To encourage community support, the pool trustees have created a sponsorship model that will see the names of individuals, families and businesses displayed on a sponsorship board near the community pool. 

“The more support the trust receives, the more likely it is that as a community we can have a heated pool for everyone to use all year round,” says Chloe.

Sponsors can donate either $500 or $1,000. In addition to having their names displayed at the community pool and depending on the level of their sponsorship, they will receive a number free concession passes to the pool for two seasons. “For local businesses this will be an ideal option to share with their employees,” says Anne-Maree.

If you want to support the Mercury Bay Community Pool Trust sponsorship model, please get in touch with another pool trustee, Mel Asquith, at melasquith@gmail.com.

Pictured: The team responsible for the community pool at Mercury Bay Area School and the above-ground pool at the MBAS primary school. Back, from the left: Chloe Wilson, Anne-Maree McDougall, Hayley Jones, Candice van de Ven, Mel Asquith and Howard Baker. Front: Gary Hinds and Jenny Collier.