Remediation options for the safe swimming facility at Wairaka Centennial Park will be reviewed in consultation with key community groups and representatives, following recommendations adopted by Council at its 18 September 2019 meeting.

Since the opening of the facility in December 2017, the community has raised concerns on a number of issues including access, water quality and maintenance requirements.

General Manager Community Services Mike Naude says the original intention for the facility was to provide a safe swimming area in the Whakatāne River for the community and to ensure the needs of all river users were met.

“While the area has been hugely popular, we are aware that some aspects are causing concern and we want to remediate those issues to the best of our ability,” he says.

In a report to Council, several options were proposed to begin the consultation phase.  Key stakeholders including Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, the Wairaka community, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, families and wider facility users will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the potential remediation of the facility.

Engagement will be carried out in the coming months and any works will begin following the summer season to enable the Wairaka Playground to continue functioning during the busy summer period. Proposed improvements or modifications will undergo cost analysis before resource consent is sought.

“While I acknowledge that the process to identify options has taken longer than anticipated, the future management of this facility is a priority, and it’s important that we assess all options to remedy the concerns of the community,” says Mr Naude.

An engagement plan will now be prepared that includes a range of methods for targeted consultation on remediation options.