Kawerau clubrooms on the move
14 January 2015
AFTER 30 years of housing Kawerau’s swimming club the two-storey clubrooms are leaving the pool complex to make way for a $700,000 upgrade.
The building, which watches over the lane pool at the Maurie Kjar Memorial Swimming Pool Complex, opened in 1985 and preparations are under way for its removal tonight.
Last year Kawerau District Council agreed to spend more than $590,000 on a new changing block and an estimated $50,000 to convert the existing changing block into a new clubroom.
Construction on the new changing block is expected to begin in February, followed by conversion of the changing rooms to a clubroom.
Committee member Sela Kingi said the building had been bought by a Bay of Plenty couple and she expected they would look after it the way the club members would want.
The removal was originally planned for Monday night but issues with deconstruction postponed the shift until today.
Swimming club committee member Justin Ross said the club would be left without a building for a few months while the changing block was refurbished.
Large items from the clubrooms have been moved to a council storage space and equipment regularly used for lessons is being stored on-site in a small area attached to the changing block.
Mr Ross joined the club as a swimmer in 2005 before stepping up to become a teacher and estimates the club trains 60 swimmers each season.
Sixty past and present club members visited the complex on Sunday afternoon to farewell the clubrooms.
Long-time member Annette Reece said it was sad to see the large time- keeping clock come down over the weekend but she was looking forward to the newly-renovated site.
She began visiting the pools when entry was just two shillings and became involved with the club in 1973 when her children began swimming.
Ms Reece has volunteered as a towel holder and a time keeper but in recent times prefers to stick to the side of the pool where she still teaches children to swim.
She said it was satisfying to be able to take a young person with no swimming ability and teach them a skill they would be able to use to keep themselves safe.
The club had produced some good swimmers over the years but had also supported whole families and adults into the water.
Ms Kingi learned to swim when she was 30 after her sister began learning.
At first Ms Kingi would visit the complex and watch her sister practise from a spot in the shallow pool, but after a while she wanted to learn to swim too.
She said one person would begin swimming with the Kawerau Swimming Club and the whole family would become involved.
Source: Whakatane Beacon – Story by Meagan Hunt