In December 2023 Tauranga City Council commissioners approved $122.25m of funding towards the new aquatic facility at Memorial Park.
The new centre will include a deep-water eight-lane 25m indoor swimming pool, alongside a hydrotherapy pool and spa, a learn to swim pool, and a leisure pool with a toddler pool. Outside, there will be a four-lane 25m lido pool, a splash pad, and a bombing pool. There will also be three hydroslides, a fitness centre, and a café that services the facility and the park.
This new aquatic centre will balance the shortfall across the network for increased structured water-based leisure, sports and fitness.
As well as a new aquatic facility there are plans to replace the three indoor courts at Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre and Memorial Hall with a new indoor court facility at an alternative city-centre location.
Given the difficult ground conditions at Memorial Park, it became evident that replacing the courts at that location would be unaffordable. Therefore, TCC explored alternative locations for the indoor courts, with a successful fit-for-purpose property found in the CBD. We hope to share more information with you on this new facility in the coming months.
At the same time, we are also looking at how we can make best use of the wider Memorial Park area. Playground redevelopment and consideration of other play and active recreation opportunities also under consideration. We also plan to keep facilities that are much loved by the community – the Tauranga War Memorial, model train, mini putt and Humpty Dumpty.
These new facilities, and how we use Memorial Park in the future, are being considered within the wider context of all our other reserves, parks, recreational and aquatic centres and form part of broader plans to work with the community and sports organisations to make our community spaces better and use the spaces we have in the best way possible.
- The indoor and outdoor facilities at Memorial Park were constructed in the late 1950s and 1960s and are coming to the end of their useful lives.
- Development of the Memorial Park pool and indoor sports facility – including the development of the aquatic and court facilities at Memorial Park, has been confirmed as a priority action, with a total of $103 million budgeted via the Long-term Plan 2021-2031.
- While the original plan was to upgrade the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre building, these upgrades would be significant. Recent building reports have indicated seismic and structural issues, which would significantly increase project costs, meaning the best course of action will be to demolish the old building (including Memorial Hall) and develop a new facility.
- We’re working with Bay Venues who will continue to manage the facilities and help ensure any disruptions during the upgrade are minimised. Together, we will work to find/provide alternative venues for sports and clubs once the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre is decommissioned.
Building on previous discussions
We previously engaged with key user groups and sports clubs to inform the 2020 feasibility study and concept plan for the aquatic and recreation hub facilities upgrade to ensure what we build will best meet the needs of our growing community now, and in the future.
We also consulted with the community on increased investment in community spaces, places and facilities via the Long-term Plan 2021-2031 with approval to proceed with the Memorial Park aquatic and recreation hub facilities upgrade.
Building on these previous discussions with these groups, we want to explore how we use the whole reserve space at Memorial Park, honour its history, and plan for the future.
Working with the community
We are partnering with mana whenua, and Bay Venues, and working together with sports groups, businesses and clubs, as well as other organisations from the community, to make sure we create a balanced plan that meets the needs of most people. From previous consultation with our community, we have a good understanding of what our community value, which has informed our project aspirations for the park and recreation hub.
We will be working with sports groups and clubs to ensure we understand each group’s needs, which will inform the concept plan and design.