Tina Law - 3 June 2018
Thousands of people have flocked to Christchurch's newest swimming pool complex this weekend, with some waiting 45 minutes for a swim.
The new $38.6 million Taiora QEII Recreation and Sport Centre hit maximum capacity on Saturday afternoon and again at 10am on Sunday and by mid afternoon the same day, swimmers were waiting 45 minutes to get inside the pool hall.
Council recreation and sports unit operations manager Nigel Cox said pool staff had initiated a one-in, one-out door policy from about 10am on Sunday once numbers inside the pool area hit 450.
He estimated more than 14,000 people had visited the facility since it opened at 6pm on Thursday. A busy day at Jellie Park in the summer would attract about 4000.
"There's good vibe. No-one is angry because it's the opening weekend of a great pool."
Staff were advising people of the wait and were suggesting they could go to one of the council's other swimming complexes. However, Cox said given the weather the council's other pools were also busy on Sunday.
If they decided to stay, people were given a numbered ticket and when the number was called they were allowed to enter. This meant people did not have to queue and were able to wait inside the lobby.
There had been minimal teething problems at the facility. One of the smaller pools was closed for about 20 minutes on Saturday while the chlorine level was adjusted, Cox said.
The 5500-square-metre facility features a 130-metre long hydroslide, a 25-metre lap pool, a leisure pool with a lazy river channel and water toys, an adventure playground, a learn-to-swim pool, a hydrotherapy pool, a spa, a steam room, and a sauna. It also has a fitness centre and a cafe. The 25-metre pool has a movable floor, which can be raised and lowered.
The facility replaces the much-loved former QEII complex, which was demolished following the February 2011 earthquake.
Keep QEII in the East spokeswoman Jo Zervos said last week there was real excitement in the community about the opening, but some residents were still bitter the facility did not include a 50-metre pool, as the former QEII did.