Funding to fix well-loved BOP pool

Photo: Supplied/Kawerau District Council.

Kawerau District Council has received more than $200,000 from Trust Horizon to help fix its free, heated swimming pool, alongside other projects.

The council decided last month that a new steam well was needed for the Maurie Kjar Swimming Pool Complex, which has been closed for much of the past winter due to not reaching hot enough temperatures.

As well as $66,247 toward the drilling of the new geothermal bore, $24,884 has been obtained to replace the splash pad controller broken, and $60,000 to expand the power connection at the complex for the current upgrade of the entrance and clubrooms, funded by the Lotteries Community Facilities Committee.

This building work is already under way, as part of stage two of the pool development. Stage one saw the new clubrooms completed for the swimming club, utilising the former changing rooms.

Another $5000 has been provided for signs to acknowledge the project funding.

In addition, Trust Horizon has granted $60,000 for a power connection to a new animal shelter and rehoming facility.

The animal rehoming shelter project is on the drawing board ready to go and the tender has been advertised for the building.

This adds up to a total of $216,000 to the Kawerau community.

Mayor Malcolm Campbell says this will make a huge difference to the Kawerau community.

“The pools are such a well-loved and used complex by so many people of all ages within the community. In addition, it is a popular location for sports teams and groups who often travel to Kawerau.”

Malcolm also wants to acknowledge Kawerau’s Trust Horizon trustee Edwina O’Brien for her support of the district.

Chief executive Russell George says the support for the projects and, in particular, the bore hole will have an ongoing positive impact for the community and council.

“Geothermal steam is by far the most economic method to heat the complex. So, this support has an immediate impact, allowing us to drill the new borehole and tap into a new steam well – which has an ongoing cost saving for ratepayers.”

Pool namesake founding father of Kawerau township

The Maurie Kjar Memorial Swimming Pool Complex is taonga of the Kawerau district, with its free, geothermally heated pools, enjoyed by all ages, but few people know much about its namesake.

Maurie Kjar, stationed in Egypt during World War II. Photograph courtesy of Kawerau Sir James Fletcher Museum.

Located nearby a geothermal field, the complex is heated by steam from a purpose-drilled geothermal bore that was installed around 1970, which greatly reduces the operational costs.

Like many of Kawerau’s feature areas, the pool complex was named after one of the town’s founding fathers - Maurie Kjar (pronounced Care).

Maurie Kjar was born in Palmerston North in 1922 and educated at Palmerston North Boys High School.

During World War II he served in the 18th armoured regiment in Italy. He left his position as office manager for the NZ Forest Service at the Waipa State Mill to join Tasman Pulp and Paper Company in 1954. His first position was executive assistant to the sawmill manager.

He swiftly moved through the ranks, holding several executive positions, including in the commercial department at January 1962 before being appointed general manager in 1972.

He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1955. He was married to Kathleen, known as Kath, they had two daughters - Barbara and Margaret.

Mr Kjar took a keen interest in community affairs in Kawerau and served three years, from 1959 to 1962, on the first Kawerau Borough Council. He was among the band of dedicated workers responsible for the planning and construction of the Kawerau Swimming Baths.

Maurie was a founding member of the Kawerau Cosmopolitan Club and a member of the Whakatāne Golf Club, the Kawerau RSA and an honorary member of the Kawerau Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Kjar died in Rotorua Hospital on June 12, 1974 after a long illness.

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