Park or Pool? Mosgiel Gardens

LifeguardRecently the Dunedin City Council called for submissions on the potential sites for the proposed new pool in Mosgiel. Despite people’s views on whether a pool is actually needed in Mosgiel the selection of sites for the pool is a contentious issue. The selection of four sites was provided in the Council’s consultation information, one was the existing pool site and the other three were variations on occupying part of Mosgiel Memorial Gardens. The frustrating part of this consultation process is that there was no indication of the actual footprint of the new pool facility, only a dot on the proposed position of the pool. So there was no way of actually knowing what the scale or shape of the impact of the pool placement on the gardens was going to be.

In the residential Mosgiel area, passive use open space and formal play areas are actually at a premium despite its proximity to rural land and the townships rural outlook. Public sports grounds and the walking area alongside the Silverstream make up the bulk of active recreational areas, while school grounds also play a significant area in this evaluation. The proposed pool development would take up a significant portion of the Gardens site especially when seen together with the provision of parking, access and plant development for the pools operation. Other effects would include the removal of significant trees from the reserve which would have a negative effect on the parks ambiance, landscape heritage and biodiversity values.

For these reasons the Dunedin Amenities Society submitted that it does not support the placement of the proposed pool on the Mosgiel Memorial Gardens. The effects on open space, passive recreation, recreational play and landscape values associated with the site are extremely high in a community where such space is limited. The Society also submitted that it does not support the large-scale loss of amenity trees from the Gardens which have given pleasure to the community for many years. The Society has suggested that if a pool is to be built, then the existing site will have the least negative effect on the area, dependent on the design that the project developers create. One thing that has not been considered is whether the pool should or could encroach on the adjacent Mosgiel Caravan Park which is on Council land. There has been debate about this facility before, perhaps its time to consider that debate again in lieu of the pool proposal. 

Two other issues came up in this consultation which are worth comment. The first was that if the existing pool site was used for a new pool that Mosgiel will be without a pool for 18 months while construction is undertaken. However, the inconvenience of short-term loss of the facility is equally matched by the long-term gain of a new facility should the capital be raised. Mosgiel and its environs have school pools and the availability of Moana Pool with 15-20 minutes’ drive of the area. Many other communities are without a pool facility and all manage adequately by using alternative facilities within their communities or the city on a permanent basis. The other issue is the notion that building the proposed pool in the current location would make it prone to flooding. There seems to be no evidence from the Otago Regional Council’s flood protection scheme that the existing pool site is prone or endangered by potential flooding. Currently the Silverstream has existing stop banks and if a flood breached them Mosgiel would have a lot more to worry about than the pool being flooded. It would seem more sensible to work with the Otago Regional Council during the design phase of the project to ensure any risk of flooding is mitigated. This would allow development of the pool on the existing site without the need to use the valuable open space and landscape values of Mosgiel Memorial Gardens.

Silverstream 1905

4 Comments on “Park or Pool? Mosgiel Gardens

    • Thanks Peter, I wrote this on behalf of the Society because our organisation acts as an advocate for the protection of public open space. The Society has no view on the pool itself, though individual members will no doubt have thoughts on issues around public expenditure. The gardens are one of the few open space areas available in Mosgiel, and in a growing township it will need all of that space to provide recreation and leisure to the community. I hope sanity prevails, but its a hard thing to judge in the current political and social climate.

      Paul Pope

  1. A very well thought out submission. I am the Chair of the “Hands Off Mosgiel Memorial Gardens.” and as such we are not apposing the development of a new pool in Mosgiel, but totally against the Memorial Gardens being the trusts preferred site. We believe that the gardens should remain on their present site for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
    A couple of points that may need clarification, as to what is being put out to the public.
    1. There appears to be no record of the site of the present pool ever being flooded.
    2. The 18 months that Mosgiel would be with out a pool if the present site is to be developed.
    The pool is always closed in the winter for about 6 months. If the new pool was to be developed on the present site. A start could be made during the winter months, then finished at the end of following winter. A period of 18 months. That would mean that the Mosgiel Pool under its present opening season , would only lose 6 months operating time. Not the 18 months as some would want us to believe.
    Brian Miller
    Chair. Hands Off Mosgiel Memorial Gardens.

    • Thanks Brian
      The Society have always been advocates for open space and tree protection, hence our submission. The flooding issue was something I picked up in the media and is red herring really.
      Paul Pope

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