Grant going towards major pool work

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

There was just one grant for South Otago in the August round of Otago Community Trust’s grant allocations. It went to the Clutha Valley Primary School which has received $48,000 to help it complete essential maintenance and replacement work for the combined school and community swimming pool complex.

The 25m outdoor pool was built in 1968 when Clutha Valley District High School became Clutha Valley Primary School. This pool replaced the smaller school pool which was located between the present school and the now covered pool complex.

At a later date, the toddler and junior pools were built using locally raised funds.

The community supported the installation of the covered roof in the early 1980s, and it was re-roofed about 15 years ago.

Today the pool is used by more than 100 families in the region and needs community support to keep it operational.

Principal of Clutha Valley Primary School Val Ward said she was very appreciative of the OCT’s recent grant.

“We have to thank the Otago Community Trust and all the people who have been supporting us. Many have donated time and money to keep this combined school and community pool running,” she said.

Clutha Valley Primary School Board of Trustees and Clutha Valley community pool development committee chairman Shane Bocock said he was thankful for the grant as it would help achieve the goal of future-proofing the pool.

“We have raised, through community events and many other grant applications, funds to improve this school and community asset. Today we are replacing the 50-year-old pool’s filter system and later we are planning to tile the entire pool to eliminate the need to repaint it every eight to 10 years, as chlorine doesn’t treat the paint very kindly.

” If we wanted to do a real future-proofing job on this pool then the advice was to tile. While the initial capital cost is higher, the long-term maintenance costs will be lower,” he said.

“Last year we replaced all the old louvres with new aluminium-framed windows. $20,000 was spent on bird-proofing and general maintenance and now the Clutha Valley pool development committee and the school are planning to spend close to $50,000 on new filtration and reticulation systems for the pools.

“Many of the 50-year-old metal castings, valves and filter, pumps and fittings have rusted severely and are being replaced by PVC with new skimmers.

“The big cost of this project was a new replacement 2500-litre filtration tank which came from Malaysia,” Mr Bocock said.

“We had to take the roof off the filtration room to allow us to lift the new tank in and instal it. Many have donated their time or have come along with tools or heavy lifting equipment to help us out.”

The goal was to reduce the annual maintenance costs.

“We have discovered the reason why many school pools have closed is they get to the point where there has to be an awful lot of money spent on ongoing maintenance. We recently held back on the smaller jobs and now we are dealing with them as a total project to future-proof the pool.”

Mrs Ward praised the many people in the community who had helped keep the pool operating over the years.

“The Clutha Valley Lions Club are very supportive of what we do here.

“One of the things they do is to help us maintain the pool on a yearly basis. We only get a little bit of financial assistance from the government and we wouldn’t be able to maintain it without the kind support of the community, the Clutha Valley Lions Club and the Clutha District Council.

“The Lions Club have, for many years now, provided financial support for swimming lessons for the children of the district and we are very grateful for that. It’s such an asset, and we are very proud of the fact that most of our children have learned to swim thanks to them,” she said.

The project will be developed in stages over the next 12 months.