High Court orders Napier City Council to stop work on $41 million pool complex

5:20 pm on 30 July 2019

Both the Napier City Council and opponents of its controversial $41 million pool development are claiming victory after a High Court ruling stopping the award of a contract to build the centre.

Artists rendering of the proposed pool in Napier.

Artists rendering of the proposed pool in Napier. Photo: Supplied

The interim injunction means the council's preferred builder cannot sign on the dotted line until the court decides whether the council failed to properly consult the public over its decision to build the new pool in the first place.

"We are very pleased with this interim injunction and we are now working very digiliently to bring the full court case to fruition in September, " Friends of Onekawa Aquatic Centre Society chairman Graham Sutherland said.

Napier City Council also applauded the order as a great result.

"This is a great outcome for the people of Napier," chief executive Wayne Jack said.

"This means that work can continue with the resource consent process, preloading earthworks on site and the evaluation of tenders received and acceptance of the preferred tenderer by Council.

It said that was because while it couldn't award the contract, it could continue selecting its preferred tenderer, continue with groundworks and apply for a resource consent.

"Construction costs are increasing at a rate of $3000 to $4000 per day. Being able to continue with these major aspects of the project while we await the 30 September court hearing ensures valuable time and cost savings and is very welcomed," he said.

Councillor Kirsten Wise, one of the six who voted against the pool, said the publicly-notifed resource consent, which would be heard by independent commissioners, would give the public another chance to have their say on the issue.

"There was inadequate community consultation. This will now give members of the community an opportunity to have further input and submit any concerns they have."

Councillor Maxine Boag, who also voted against the new pool complex, said the council had a history of not listening to its ratepayers.

"This is the second high court case we've had in just over a year. Last year were challenged over Easter Trading, so there is a message there about consultation."

Councillor Keith Price, who voted for the new pool, said he believed the new pools was worth pursuing.

"I'm a big picture guy. I was very involved in [the development of] Marine Parade and three years ago people were very anti that. Now, they're very pro it."

It was very likely the pool's future would be decided by an entirely new council.

A three-day hearing for the judicial review was set to begin at the High Court in Wellington on September 30, just weeks before the local government elections on October 12.

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