Dirty pool? #SDHB #University

Dunedin Hospital’s physiotherapy pool has some bent admirers.


DCC Webmap - 464 and 490 Cumberland Street (1)DCC Webmap – subject site

Last week What if? Dunedin received information that the pool’s threatened closure is far from what it seems. A long-term plan has been sighted, in which either the hospital (SDHB) or the University of Otago is shown to be eyeing up the pool building. Note —the pool and a large empty space used for parking immediately adjacent to the University’s student hostel property (at 490 Cumberland Street) are marked for “development”.

It is said the $1 million quoted for the pool’s building upgrade looks like ‘a bogeyman conjured up to make the kids settle down to sleep and stop asking awkward questions’.

DCC Rates information (click to enlarge):
DCC Rates information - 464 Cumberland Street (1)DCC Rates information - 490 Cumberland Street (1)

Related Posts and Comments:
6.8.14 Otago Therapeutic Pool at Dunedin Hospital
1.5.14 Dunedin Hospital buildings SORRY STATE

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Democracy, Design, Economics, Heritage, New Zealand, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, SDHB, Site, University of Otago, What stadium

38 responses to “Dirty pool? #SDHB #University

  1. Hype O'Thermia

    Seeing it on the map it’s a temptingly large piece of real estate in a part of town where the university and SDHB do not have many other options for expansion. The suggestion that the “killing” of our physio pool isn’t based on what it will cost for “essential” maintenance and running costs, looks like it is all too credible.
    Isn’t that the way things are done these days?

  2. Elizabeth

    $50K grant not enough to sway SDHB
    The trust running Dunedin's physio pool says a $50,000 grant to support the facility should earn it a six-month reprieve from closure. However, the plea has yet to sway Southern District Health Board chairman Joe Butterfield, who told the Otago Daily Times the money, while ''a good start'', was not enough to prevent the pool's closure in December. That decision has already been made.''

  3. The transfer of that property from the SDHB to the University would (as a book entry in the Government coffers) provide the SDHB a ‘goodly’ sum to cover some of its very dodgy financials as well as fix a few roof leaks. Perhaps Cr and board member Richard Thomson (a man of many talents) could throw some light on the subject, if he could switch on his light. He has already said “use it and pay or lose it”.

  4. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz September 1, 2014 – 5:49pm
    DCC committee discusses the physiotherapy pool’s future
    There may be light at the end of the tunnel for Dunedin’s physiotherapy pool, earmarked for closure by the Southern District Health Board. The Dunedin City Council’s community and environment committee discussed the pool’s future at a meeting this afternoon. And members have made some recommendations for the council, which could come as good news to pool users.

  5. Elizabeth

    Crs David Benson-Pope, John Bezett, Doug Hall and Andrew Whiley sought assurances the SDHB’s motivations in closing the pool were simply about money and not that they wanted to use the site for anything else.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Sep 2014
    Council supports physio pool
    By Debbie Porteous
    The Dunedin physio pool seems set to get a reprieve until June and has a shot at a longer future, with a Dunedin City Council offer of support. The council has indicated it will lend up to $50,000 to the Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust, which runs the pool, so it can begin investigating whether it is viable to keep the facility open beyond June.
    Read more


    Report – CEC – 01/09/2014 (PDF, 107.4 KB)
    Dunedin Hospital Therapeutic Pool

  6. A “loan” of $50,000 and “the trust was expected to pay the money back” defies credibility. There is almost no chance of this money being paid back. The same old DCC make-believe continues.

    • Elizabeth

      The pool trust is currently applying for sizeable community grants and is receiving generous donations. I can’t see the money not being paid back to DCC in the current climate. In addition, because the pool is registered as a Category 2 historic place by Heritage New Zealand, the pool owner qualifies to make application to the independently administered Dunedin Heritage Fund – such that an engineering report(s) on the structure could be funded at least in part, or components of seismic or restorative work. Lotteries Heritage is also a likely funder, indeed potentially as a major funder. The cost of targeted reports, structural work and restoration for Iona Church at Port Chalmers might be comparable (ballpark) to that required for the physio pool should it prove viable for remedial work.

  7. Council, led by Dave Cull, has indicated ‘it will “lend” up to $50,000 to the Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust, which runs the pool, so it can begin investigating whether it is viable to keep the facility open beyond June’. While, on the face of it, this seems a laudable gesture, two questions immediately arise. First, as a “loan” which is to be spent on the investigation, what consideration has been given regarding it being repaid? Second, where is the money coming from? Is it another sum on the Council’s credit card? It can’t be from loose cash, as when the DCC is in debt to over $360 million, and is part of the Group consolidated $623 million owing, one is entitled to ask. Looks like it is just business as usual, with no attempt at prudence by this bunch of ‘bozos’.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Loan of $50,000 to the Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust so it can begin investigating whether it is viable, etc etc. The DCC is keen on handing over money to “investigate” this’n’that. OK so it’s good to find things out but really – such large amounts? I’m thinking about the Mosgiel pool handout too. Plenty of money for reports, buggerall for doing anything useful. Haven’t the pool trustees already found out what’s involved in keeping it open?
      Big ups to councillors showing healthy skepticism: “Crs David Benson-Pope, John Bezett, Doug Hall and Andrew Whiley sought assurances the SDHB’s motivations in closing the pool were simply about money and not that they wanted to use the site for anything else.” (Elizabeth)

      • Elizabeth

        Hype, agree that the Councillors asking that question are being unusually perceptive, for some reason!? It has to be asked.

        DCC is being less than transparent about how the loan came about and the exact terms of the loan. More information required. ODT has probably made an LGOIMA request?

  8. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sun, 7 Sep 2014
    Million-dollar question of repair
    By Debbie Porteous
    The closure of the physio pool has been delayed until June so a solution can be found for the longer term. That solution will inevitably require some capital investment. But how much are we talking? […] The pool was planned in 1943 to be an integral part of the University of Otago’s new School of Physiotherapy. The first physiotherapy pool in New Zealand, it was opened in 1946 and from then on the pool, with its 35degC water was used for the treatment of patients with bone and joint injuries as well as for post-operative care and patients with mobility issues. From 1983 the pool has been managed by the Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust, which also allowed for its use by members of the public for a small fee. In 2004 the building was given a heritage listing as a category two historic place as one of the earliest examples of portal frame reinforced concrete construction.
    Read more

  9. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 9 Sep 2014
    Video: Don’t close our pool
    Physiotherapist Mark Shirley said Dunedin physiotherapists marked World Physio Day with an activity each year and this year decided to hold it at the Otago Therapy Pool, which was threatened with closure. ”We wanted to put our support behind keeping the facility open and available to our community.”
    Read more

    ODTV Video Sep 8, 2014

    Dunedin Physio pool Dunedin physiotherapists gather at the Dunedin physio pool to mark World Physio Day.

  10. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 23 Sep 2014
    Physio pool’s value stressed at forum
    By Chris Morris
    The value of Dunedin’s physiotherapy pool was stressed to the Dunedin City Council at a public forum yesterday. A delegation representing about 50 Dunedin physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and patients yesterday called on the council to remain involved in saving the pool.
    Read more

  11. Anonymous

    Oh my god. The wasters in SDHB spent over $100,000 on a fish tank! A thousand dollars each week on maintaining it. Who signed off on this madness? Which executive’s kid at uni is clipping that ticket? This was going on while they were dismissing essential services. Even a large screen tv with a fish screensaver would have been a hundred times less expensive.

    {Link http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/324898/56000-spent-ward-fish-tank -Eds}

  12. Wonder what Richard Thomson would think of that? Probably thinks it is part of the catering department. Duh!

  13. Elizabeth

    Link received from up north
    Thu, 27 Nov 2014 at 6:36 p.m.

    Somebody let this happen. ODT ran the story; Anonymous brought it to this thread yesterday.

    Whaleoil would always see the hypocrisy.

    ### whaleoil.co.nz November 27, 2014 at 3:30pm
    What you like Dunedin? Medical equipment, or a fish tank?
    By Cameron Slater
    Let’s get started, and then I’ll make a point or two

    A fish tank in Dunedin Hospital cost $73,000 to install and more than $1000 a week to run in its first year.

    They have admitted to spending $129,000 on the tank in the first year.

    However, the cash-strapped Southern District Health Board says the maintenance bill will be ”significantly less” in the tank’s second year of operation.
    The tank is funded by donations to the children’s ward.

    That’s pretty poor stewardship of generously given funds. […]

    In an email, patient services director Lexie O’Shea said responsibility for maintaining the fish tank had shifted from the University of Otago’s marine department to a ”local pet retailer” for the tank’s second year.

    Have the University of Otago been taking the mickey here?
    Read more

  14. Anonymous

    What should be another April Fools’ Day joke in the Otago Daily Times demonstrates just how disconnected from reality the executive is at Southern District Health Board. Its chief executive Carole Heatly appears to blissfully swim about in her own diamond-hardened, rose-tinted fish bowl. While the PR department usually gets the last word in the media on these matters, I doubt many health services staff and patients agree it is an appropriate message for such a serious environment.

    Oddly enough the bizarre situation is almost usurped by an ODT commenter who posted: “Give her a break – for all we know she may pay the salary increase forward, making a difference to many others.” Even the DCC Spooks could be proud of that one – it sounds promising but promises nothing.


  15. Hype O'Thermia

    OTOH for all we know she may be funding IS recruitment. For, all we know is SFA thanks to policies of transparency, accountability or whatever is the cow-patty of the season over in her fiefdom.

  16. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz February 2, 2015 – 5:48pm
    Physio pool granted a reprieve
    A last-minute reprieve has been granted to the Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust, from the Dunedin City Council.

  17. Elizabeth

    The 35degC pool was used by 40,000 people a year, mostly those recovering from injury or surgery, or with disabilities or mobility issues.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 3 Feb 2015
    Agreement to underwrite physio pool
    The Dunedin City Council has agreed to underwrite up to $300,000 of the cost of saving the Dunedin Physio Pool, despite concerns ratepayers were being treated as ”the funder of last resort”. The concerns came as councillors at yesterday’s long-term plan meeting voted to budget for an underwriting – worth up to $100,000 a year for the next three years – to help save the popular facility.
    Read more

  18. Peter

    I agree keeping the pool going is a good idea, but isn’t the DCC taking away from the SDHB its responsibility to manage this facility? Isn’t it any wonder the DCC must be seen as a soft touch by so many interest groups?
    ‘If we can’t raise the cash…or can’t be bothered to fundraise ourselves…we can always fall back on the DCC for help.’
    Wouldn’t it be funny if a large number of ratepayers flooded the system asking for rates relief…and kept going back asking for clarification as to why not? Now there’s an idea.

  19. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz February 3, 2015 – 6:44pm
    Future of Dunedin’s physiotherapy pool looking brighter
    The future of Dunedin’s physiotherapy pool is looking brighter, with the city council likely to underwrite its operating costs. But there’s still some major hurdles to overcome before trust members and users are able to celebrate the facility’s retention in the community.

  20. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sun, 22 Feb 2015
    Plea for community to support pool
    By Samantha McPherson – The Star
    For Hannah Scott, being able to walk again would not have been possible without the use of the Dunedin Physio Pool – a facility that is unique in what it provides for people on a rehabilitative programme, which is why it is ”imperative” that it stays open. […] But in order for the Otago Therapeutic Trust to ”convince” the Southern District Health Board to keep the facility open, $1.5 million needs to be raised to keep the pool open and to future-proof the facility for the next 20 years.
    Read more

    To make a donation to help save the Dunedin Physio Pool, visit http://www.physiopool.org.nz.

  21. Elizabeth

    As foreseen by the post at the top of this thread (August 2014):

    Health officials and Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust have been tight-lipped about why the $1million upgrade is in limbo….

    ### ODT Online Mon, 25 Jan 2016
    Physio pool delayed
    By Eileen Goodwin
    Officials have admitted the big-ticket Dunedin Hospital redevelopment plan is a factor in the unexpected delay of the Dunedin physio pool upgrade. […] Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman’s office has now confirmed the rebuild project – worth up to $300million – is a factor in the negotiations hitting a snag.
    Read more

    Related Posts and Comments:
    23.12.15 SDHB underfunded, no bandage
    3.11.15 SDHB will ‘takeaway’ more than freshly cooked meals and a head chef
    30.10.15 Dunedin Hospital #despair
    6.8.14 Otago Therapeutic Pool at Dunedin Hospital
    1.5.14 Dunedin Hospital buildings SORRY STATE

  22. Elizabeth

    Ministry of Health confirms they’ve not received a lease proposal, discussions still ongoing between SDHB and pool trust.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 24 Feb 2016
    Pool upgrade still in limbo
    By Eileen Goodwin
    The Dunedin physio pool upgrade is still in limbo and the Southern District Health Board is tight-lipped about the delayed project. […] Last month, officials admitted that a factor in the unexpected delay was the long-term redevelopment plan for the campus.
    Read more

  23. Elizabeth

    ‘The ministry suggested a termination clause which would be activated only if the land was required for redevelopment.’

    Mon, 25 Apr 2016
    ODT: Physio pool upgrade setback
    Hopes the Dunedin physio pool upgrade would start this year have been dealt a blow after it emerged a long-term lease is unlikely to be granted any time soon by the Southern District Health Board […] an internal Ministry of Health document, released under the Official Information Act to the Labour Party, shows the pool has to wait until later next year, when decisions are made about the Dunedin Hospital redevelopment.

  24. Elizabeth

    ODT 27.4.16 (page 12)

    ODT 27.4.16  Letters to editor Matheson Calvert p12

  25. Elizabeth

    Community campaign backed by Otago Daily Times raised $1.2 million for an upgrade and running costs for the historic physio pool.

    Fri, 24 Jun 2016
    ODT: Physio pool’s future hangs in the balance
    The Dunedin physio pool’s future hangs in the balance because of a ‘”quagmire of bureaucracy and butt-covering”, Dunedin North MP David Clark says. Dr Clark said documents released under the Official Information Act, which show officials scrambling to respond to an impasse over a long-term lease for the pool, suggest a lack of leadership from Health Minister Jonathan Coleman. […] The pool is on the hospital campus, and officials are keeping their options open for the planned $300million rebuild of the hospital.

  26. Elizabeth

    The community has raised funds for repairs and the asset and land can’t easily be used for anything else.

    Wed, 6 Jul 2016
    ODT: Project bound in red tape
    By David Clark, Dunedin North MP
    ….suddenly, two years ago, the physio pool’s ongoing survival was thrown into question. Expensive and necessary repairs and underfunding in the health system led the Southern District Health Board to question whether it could afford the maintenance at all. A community campaign, jollied along by the ODT, raised $1.2million, and the community signalled their willingness to contribute over and above their taxes to retain the service. The story should have ended soon after. An upgrade should have been confirmed and a project manager appointed. But it has not panned out that way. […] the project has been marooned on an island of bureaucracy in the Ministry of Health. The minister doesn’t understand his ability to override this bureaucracy. Either that, or the minister is hiding behind the skirts of his department.

  27. Elizabeth

    Physio pool building designed by Mason & Wales Architects, has category two listing with Heritage New Zealand.

    Sat, 1 Oct 2016
    Pool heritage status opposed
    The Southern District Health Board is fighting a proposal to classify  Dunedin’s already endangered physio pool site as a heritage building, saying it may have to be demolished as part of a hospital redevelopment. This comes as the Property Council and the University of Otago are set to argue at next week’s  Second Generation Dunedin City District Plan (2GP) hearings that proposed rules aimed at protecting the city’s heritage buildings are too restrictive.

    Heritage New Zealand | Otago Therapeutic Pool
    List No. 7581
    Historical information and Heritage significance at http://www.heritage.org.nz/the-list/details?id=7581

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    “Despite the call from Heritage New Zealand, council planner Emma Christmas has recommended that it not be included on the schedule, which would place limits on changes being made to the building.
    Ms McMinn said in written evidence supplied to the hearing, the SDHB “strongly” supported the planner’s recommendation, given the possibility the site may be used as part of the proposed redevelopment of the Dunedin Hospital.”

    What am I reading? Dunedin should be scrapping “inconvenient” (and in this case functional and very well used) heritage because, bugger us and our wishes and needs, the important thing is to avoid going against SDHB’s wishes.

    Their wishes to – perhaps – build something else there, at some time in the future:

    ” “Although [it is] unlikely to be required in the next 10 years, it is difficult to predict if the site may be required in the future,” Ms McMinn said if the pool site was required it would consider “adaptive re-use” of the building, but the cost of such an option would need to be “assessed against the funding provision for the overall project”.”

    Given the current government’s signals about turning Dunedin Public Hospital into one medic and a St Bernard with a box of elastoplasts round its neck, how much extra space do we really expect is going to be needed? If the sucky recommendations from Dunedin to Govt are taken up we’ll have a first aid tent AND no physio pool!

    {Moderated. -Eds}

  29. Elizabeth

    Thu, 20 Oct 2016
    SDHB backs planner’s call on physio pool
    The Southern District Health Board has praised a Dunedin City Council planner [Emma Christmas] for recommending the physio pool not be protected under the city’s new planning rules. […] A report by Heritage New Zealand adviser Heather Bauchop calling for the pool to be included in the 2GP’s list of scheduled buildings said the building, constructed in 1945 and 1946, had national heritage significance and “social significance” as the centre for physical recovery for a significant sector of the population. “It was the first purpose-built pool for the rehabilitative treatment of patients in New Zealand,” she said.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      One might be forgiven – though with memory of DCC extreme reaction to any publicly expressed criticism, perhaps not – for wondering who DCC planners are working for.
      Is the salary from our rates not enough to ensure loyalty to the city? Do they require more – should we be taking turns to deliver flowers, fruit, home made preserves, and chocolate cakes with lashings of cream, to assure them that we are on their side and likewise, vice-versa?

  30. Elizabeth

    Mon, 24 Oct 2016
    ODT: Queries as physio pool maintenance slides
    The Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust and the Southern District Health Board are at odds over which entity is supposed to be maintaining the pool while its long-term fate remains in limbo. […] Dunedin physiotherapist Barbara Anderson […] wrote a letter to the ODT about her concerns. “We also cannot let this facility deteriorate any further — there is currently wilful neglect of the building occurring since the SDHB pulled its maintenance schedule, which is now glaringly obvious. It used to do a thorough review and repair at the end of each year, but that has clearly been withdrawn.” Cont/

    Hello the “team” that have stood within sniffing distance of “democracy” at (DCC and) SDHB ….. Mess-rs Richard Thomson, Graham Crombie, and….Kathy Grant. [with a dash of Susie Johnstone, since Swann]

  31. Elizabeth

    Tue, 15 Nov 2016
    ODT: Upgrade on hold till land swap clearer
    A planned $8.1 million refurbishment of Hayward College has been postponed because the residential hall might be part of a land-swap with the Southern District Health Board so the area can be used for the Dunedin Hospital rebuild. […] Last month the Otago Daily Times revealed Otago University is willing to consider a swap to ensure the rebuilt hospital stays in the central city. It would mean the university acquiring part of the existing hospital campus in return. The swap would also involve Cumberland College, in Cumberland St, to ensure the entire block – which includes Dunedin Hospital’s Fraser building – could be used for the $300 million redevelopment. Cont/

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