FAQs | Pātai Putuputu

Why is the Aquatic Centre being revitalised? 

Rotorua Aquatic Centre is a valuable community asset with over 350,000 visits per annum and 70,000 plus learn to swim lessons each year. The building is nearing 40 years old and is in need of improvements, so it is fit for purpose. The project was consulted on as part of consultation for the 2018 – 2028 and 2021 – 2031 Long-term Plans, with clear community feedback in both rounds supporting the upgrade.

What are the timeframes for this next stage of the revitalisation?

The Rotorua Aquatic Centre’s last day for public use is Sunday 20 November 2022. Work on Stage Two of the Aquatic Centre revitalisation will begin on Wednesday 23 November 2022 to refurbish the main pool hall. Once work commences, the indoor facilities will be closed until early 2024. During this time, the outdoor 50m heated pool and outdoor changing rooms will remain open to the community and manuhiri.

What does this stage of the Aquatic Centre revitalisation include?

The upcoming refurbishment will include a reclad of the main pool hall, a new transparent roof, relining the leisure pool and a refurbishment of the reception and changing room areas providing modern, more accessible facilities and more family-friendly spaces. To support these improvements, there will be associated ventilation, fire safety, and security system upgrades. We’re excited to be creating a lighter and brighter facility thanks to the transparent roof, and eliminating the current wind tunnel from the entrance through to the pools, and including additions such as pool-side showers and modern changing room facilities.

What facilities are available while the indoor facility is closed?

The 50m outdoor pool and changing rooms will remain open to the public while indoor facilities are closed. A ‘pop-up’ reception will operate outside. We’re also looking into the possibility of temporarily relocating Splash Cafe outside. 

CLM is currently working with pool users to determine what the best use for the outdoor pool will be in terms of it remaining as one 50m pool or two 25m pools (16 lanes). If the second option is chosen, there is the chance to accommodate the full 50m lane option a couple of days per week. 

CLM is also working with pool users to establish a contingency plan for activities such as the swim schools and learn to swim programmes so that they can continue to operate while the indoor facility is closed. 

As part of the revitalisation, the splash pad, lazy river and outdoor spa will be removed in anticipation of new services in Stage Three, which could include a hydroslide, bomb pool, splash pad, dedicated learn to swim pool and an improved café and gym.

How is this being funded?

A three-stage redevelopment approach of the Rotorua Aquatic Centre was committed to in the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan. Stage Two is part of a total masterplan, estimated to cost $23.5m, with the Council committing to contributing $17.9m, and securing an additional $8.05m investment from Government’s ‘Better Off’ funding programme.

What work has been completed already?

Stage One of the Rotorua Aquatic Centre redevelopment saw the upgrade and completion of the outdoor 50m heated pool. The renovated pool was reopened in March 2021. Improvements to the outdoor pool included:

  • pool structure renovated to increase the depth to 1.4 metres to meet International Swimming Federation depth standards
  • extra length added to accommodate a bulkhead which can be shifted to create two 25 metre pools
  • new pool liner
  • a new filtration system
  • a PoolPod accessibility lift
  • a new decking pool surround
  • new start blocks for swimmers
  • The outdoor changing rooms were also refurbished

What’s included in Stage Three and when will that start?

Council are seeking partner funding to co-fund assets for leisure attractions in Stage Three. These improvements could include the likes of a hydroslide, bomb pool, splash pad, dedicated learn to swim pool and an improved café and gym. There is no date set yet for the final stage.

How do I enter the outdoor pool area during the construction period, and where do I park while the indoor facility is closed?

While the indoor facility is closed, you can access the outdoor 50m swimming pool via a temporary entrance on the south-western side of the facility. Car park spaces will be available by the new temporary pool entrance, and you will also be able to utilise the original parking spaces. Disability parking will be available close to the new temporary entrance of the outdoor facility; there will be increased CCTV surveillance of this car park and entrance area. 

Outdoor Pool Setup

Will the entry cost increase once upgrades are complete?

The intention is to hold current pricing during construction, offsetting the significant cost inflation experienced in the last twelve months with some reduced operating costs during construction. Once all stages are complete, it is likely that basic admission will need to increase slightly to keep pace with costs. Stage Three services such as hydroslides would have a separate pricing structure.

What happens if I have already booked an event/ birthday party / have a swimming lesson / swim club at the Aquatic Centre after November 2022 when the indoor facility closes?

Community Leisure Management (CLM), who manage the Rotorua Aquatic Centre, will be in touch with anyone that has a booking after 20 November 2022 to try and accommodate these bookings in the outdoor facility or make alternative arrangements. If you have a swim event booked in and are from out of town, please check with your event organiser for alternative arrangements. 

Can I still use the gym facility?

For safety reasons, while the indoor facility is under construction, the gym will not be open for use. 

What happens to my gym / Freedom membership while the indoor facility is closed?

CLM will be contacting all gym members to offer a suspension, cancellation or discounted membership, which will still allow access to the outdoor pools and group fitness classes.

Will I get a refund? Will my remaining membership time be carried over to start again once the indoor pool reopens?

CLM has many options available to support member queries. Credits, refunds and discounted rates may apply to memberships – get in touch on 07 348 8833 to discuss your options.

Is the gym being refurbished?

Improvements to the gym are not planned in this stage of the programme but is a potential area for investment within Stage Three of the project which is still securing funding.

Will group fitness classes still run outside?

Group fitness classes will still continue to run in the outdoor pool, however to accommodate all pool users, these will likely be reduced to two days per week. If further changes are made, CLM will notify regular participants.  

Can I still use the cafe? 

CLM and Splash Café are working together on the possibility of operating a pop-up cafe in the outdoor area while the indoor facility is closed. It is anticipated the café will operate as normal once the indoor facility re-opens. 

Will there be shelter if I am a spectator in the outdoor pool area?

Protecting our spectators from the elements is important to us, and we’re investigating shade and seating requirements. There are plenty of large trees lining the outskirts of the pool for spectators to sit under to avoid the sun and marquees will be erected as needed.

Where else can I swim in Rotorua?

To cool off this summer, we encourage you to enjoy our region’s lakes. To warm up, the Aquatic Centre 50m outdoor heated pool will still be available, as well as local swimming facilities such as Polynesian Spa, Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, Hell’s Gate, Secret Spot, the new QE facility, which is expected to open early 2023 and the new Wai Ariki Hot Springs & Spa, also expected to open mid-2023.

Will construction noise be disruptive?

Construction disruption will be minimised as much as possible. Construction could take place between the hours of 7.00am – 6.30pm Monday to Saturday.

As ratepayers, do we have a say in what upgrades will go ahead?

The project works were consulted on in both the 2018 and current 2021 Long Term Plan processes. In the 2021-31 Long Term Plan (LTP) consultation, more than 780 individuals, groups and organisations gave feedback and 68% of these referenced the Aquatic Centre – which was the single most commented on initiative in the LTP consultation process. Of this feedback on the Aquatic Centre, 75% supported a full Aquatic Centre redevelopment, so there is strong community support to continue upgrading and improving the facility.

What happens to pool employees during the renovations?

The revitalisation of the Aquatic Centre indoor facility has been on the cards for some time, which has allowed time to prepare possible outcomes once construction begins. All staff will continue to operate for CLM during the indoor facility closure, which also allows for some exciting redeployment options over this period, which staff have already shown an interest in. 

Will there be improvements in accessibility?

Following consultation with other facilities, Swim-Able and accessibility focus groups, we have incorporated multiple accessible bathroom facilities to better accommodate all users of the facility. The accessibility facilities will include one full universal suite with a ceiling hoist, adjustable changing table, adjustable sink, toilet and two showers. In addition, there are two full accessible bathrooms with showers. These three rooms are access controlled to ensure they are available as required. Six other rooms meet the accessible standards but are not access controlled and may be utilised by all users. One of these rooms is an accessible wash closet located in the reception area for ease of access. Nurse call buttons are installed in all these rooms for safety purposes.

Will the change rooms cater for gender diverse people?

CLM strives to be an inclusive facility and as such, extra improvements such as doors on showers instead of curtains will be included as part of the Stage Two revitalisation.  Alongside this, we are including a number of separate family change rooms and bathrooms with showers that are available for use by all users.

Number and type of change rooms (additional to the female / male changing rooms):

Type Proposed / Re-development
Family Change 4
Family / Accessible toilet 2
Family / Accessible toilet and shower 4
Accessible room with toilet and shower
(Access controlled)
Full universal suite with adjustable changing
table, ceiling hoist, adjustable sink, toilet and two showers (Access controlled)

Why are you doing both indoor pools at the same time?

This is the safest, fastest and most cost effective way to complete the building works. Separating the works would have added costs meaning the improvements to the centre would have needed to be reduced.

How long will the facility be closed for?

While the revitalisation is a considerable undertaking, the reward of having a modern facility that is going to last many more decades outweighs the construction wait of approximately 16 months – with the renewed Rotorua Aquatic Centre expected to open again to our community early 2024.

Who has been part of the project redevelopment?

Council has been working with the Aquatic Centre’s management company CLM as well as pool users and community members to ensure it meets the needs of the people of Rotorua. Council and CLM are continuing to work to secure external funding for investment into added assets (Stage Three).

Will the pool hall windows be tinted?

Yes, the windows will be green tinted toughened safety glass. 

Does the transparent roof open up?

No. It is designed however to handle sun, our geothermal environment and chlorine – as well as provide UV protection. The large glass windows / doors at the end of the pool hall leading out to the 50m outdoor pool have the ability to open up, which will help with the connectivity and flow of the indoor and outdoor pool.

Does this stage include a hydroslide? 

No. Stage Two of the Aquatic Centre redevelopment focuses on refurbishing the main indoor pool hall, indoor changing rooms and reception area. Stage Three will focus on seeking additional support from external funders to hopefully bring attractions, such as a hydroslide, to life.