(Photo: A learn-to-swim class at Thames Centennial Pool) With Thames Centennial Pool needing to be replaced by 2027, we're moving forward with finding a site for the new swimming pool to replace Thames Centennial Pool, with a location at the south end of the Sir Keith Park Memorial Airfield in Thames chosen for further investigation. Geotechnical and flood assessments, including on the potential effects of climate change and sea level rise, have been undertaken for this site and we've provided these reports to Waikato Regional Council as part of our ongoing consultation with them over the site. No major flaws to the site have been identified as part of these assessments. Answers to frequently asked questions about flooding risks at the preferred site are available to download from the right side of this page. In summary, the site is protected by stopbanks from coastal inundation, as are the nearby airfield, housing subdivision and Council wastewater treatment facility. The next steps in the project will be focused on community consultation about what kind of facility people want. Why a new pool for Thames? Thames Centennial Pool is reaching the end of its usable life and is due for replacement by 2027. This aligns with the long-held desire by Ngati Maru for Council to vacate the existing pool's site given it covers an urupa/burial ground. What are the options? Options include a like-for-like replacement (but in a permanent building) or a larger facility with more services that could function as a sub-regional aquatic centre. A feasibility study into this larger option was conducted last year and is available to download on the right side of this page. The exact scope of the pool facility will be shaped through discussions with pool user groups and will be finalised through the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan process and a wider public consultation. We'll be looking to secure as much non-Council funding as possible for the eventual building costs to lessen the impact on ratepayers. I don't live in Thames, what about a pool closer to me? It was clear from submissions we received in March and April 2018 on the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan that people in other parts of the district (outside Thames ward) would like improved swimming facilities, so we're looking into how pools in other parts of the district can be improved too. Council staff have visited the community/school pools in Coromandel Town, Whitianga and Whangamata to see how these facilities could be improved. Next steps It's still early days in the process and no final decisions as to location and funding have been made yet. Decisions around funding will be subject to a public consultation, probably as part of the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan process. In addition, Council staff are actively seeking external funding, in order to reduce the cost of this project to ratepayers.