Free pools for all – but we’ll sting you for more rates

Peter Young is calling for people to have their say on the future of Howick. Times photo Wayne Martin

Howick Local Board is considering the possibility of introducing a local targeted rate so that Howick ward residents of all ages have free entry to the area’s only public swimming pools at Lloyd Elsmore Park.

The next step would be to consult further on the specific cost should the feedback be supportive of the investigation.

“We particularly want your feedback on whether to investigate the option of a local targeted rate to enable all our ratepayers to have free access to our pools,” says David Collings, Howick Local Board chairperson in the Help Shape Howick’s future, summary of the draft Howick Local Board Plan 2017.

However Howick Local Board member Peter Young feels strongly about increasing rates.
“People are absolutely against the idea. They feel this is an excuse for more rates,” he says, slamming the proposal.

“The feedback I have got from people I have met in the electorate is that we would rather have better roads instead of stone chips surfacing that cause accidents; and better transportation, than the use of free swimming pool facilities.

“We need to prioritise and find out what the community really needs.

“People are happy to pay a nominal amount for the times they use the swimming pool,” he says.

Currently, there is free access to the pools at Lloyd Elsmore for those 16-year-olds and under.

For those 17 years and older, the rate at Lloyd Elsmore Park Pool and Leisure Centre is $4.50 per entry.

For SuperGold Card holders and those with a student ID, Green Prescription or a Community Services Card, the charge is $3.70 a visit.

There is also a 10-visit special rate of $37.

Mr Young, who has been personally distributing the draft, which has an allocated space for feedback on the back page, urges locals to read the fine print which says: `a local targeted rate would involve all ratepayers in the Howick ward having an additional charge included on their rates bill with this money used specifically to fund the cost of free access’.

He is encouraging residents to give their feedback and have their say on Howick’s draft Local Board Plan 2017 which has been published in English, Korean, Mandarin and Hindi, and delivered to people’s letterboxes.

“If you really want to shape Howick ward’s future, make sure you give your feedback by 4pm on Friday, June 30,” he says.

Read the full draft available online at www.shapeauckland.co.nz and at public libraries, council service centres and local board offices.