A half-century of swimming history in Napier is disappearing with the demolition and removal of the old outdoor Onekawa pools complex which started yesterday.
The pools opened in 1963 and, after becoming a part of the newer Napier Aquatic Centre, closed in 2008 after subsidence, cracks, leaks, broken tiles and algae growth left them unsafe.
Piping problems meant 2000cu m of water were lost each day and Napier City City Council decided repairs or replacement were not viable.
Council community services head of department Antoinette Campbell said pools had a 33 year life span, and one this old was too expensive to replace.
"This one is coming up nearly 50 years old and was significantly degraded, the options to the council were either to replace or demolish.
"To replace a pool of that size and to meet modern-day demands would be in the order of millions of dollars."
She said the main outdoor pool, the diving pool and the grandstand were being demolished over the next three weeks, after which they would be replaced with new facilities.
"We are looking at development plans for a shallow depth play area with shade, picnic areas and more family-friendly facilities."
She said the demolition work needed to be completed before construction on the new Plunket Centre began, to avoid a logistical nightmare.
"We had to get it out before Plunket goes in as it will be too difficult when their construction starts."
The complex retains its indoor heated pool which opened in 1973, and the 1998-built 25m lap pool, learners pool, toddlers area, two spa pools and two hydroslides.