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Splashing out ... Young swimmers Zayden, Kody and Rikylah Newton enjoy a day at the Waitaki Aquatic Centre. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

For many Oamaru residents, the Waitaki Aquatic Centre is a place to swim and play.

However, some feel their swim time is being blown out of the water by others’ unfair, excessive pool usage.

Oamaru resident and long-time swimmer Donna Demente is one among many swimmers who feel the situation at the aquatic centre has reached crisis point.

Ms Demente believes dive squads use a large proportion of the pool’s available weekday time, leaving little time for the public to swim before and after work hours.

“The squad is taking up half the pool, half the day, for weekdays,” Ms Demente said.

She knew many people who had now quit swimming at the aquatic centre because of the situation, she said.

“I think you’ve got to look at the whole community and older people who have given up, which is really sad.

“I can’t see it getting anything but worse; it’s not getting better,” Ms Demente said.

Although she was not against the swim squads using the aquatic centre, she said something had to change.

“I think they should have some access, but if they want to have such long sessions they may want to take that somewhere else.”

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher weighed in on the subject after reading about it on social media.

outgrown its “original design” since opening in 2000, the mayor said.

Although the idea of being able to extend the centre or build another pool was nice, Mr Kircher said there were not enough funds to do it.

He and the Waitaki District Council wanted to explore all the options available to them – including the possibility of moving or changing the times of some activities.

“First we want to talk to staff and look at the rationale behind the various hours and the different activities that are being operated and see whether there is any ability to change the time or space.”

Mr Kircher recognised the aquatic centre was in high demand, which did not help the issue.

Council parks and recreation manager Erik van der Spek said the challenge was to spread demand across the available hours.

“Unfortunately some activities can only occur during certain hours and there will always be times that suit individuals better than others”, Mr van der Spek said.