Has a thalassotherapy pool been considered for New Brighton? Having recently visited and experienced a thalassotherapy spa in Anglet, south-west France, my colleague and I are convinced this could be the point of difference and commercial boost New Brighton needs. In order to give a clearer picture of what we mean, I'm including part of a draft blog post from our wordpress blog , Learnings in Europe, which follows Bev's and my recent study trip looking at cohousing communities there.
"According to Wikipedia -
Thalassotherapy (from the Greek word thalassa, meaning "sea") is the medical use of seawater as a form of therapy. It is based on the systematic use of seawater, sea products, and shore climate. The properties of seawater are believed to have beneficial effects upon the pores of the skin.
The concept of thalassotherapy was introduced to us by a French friend, Ollie, who saw similarities between the present state of New Brighton and Anglet as it was 15 years ago. So, we thought, since we were coming such a long way, we'd check out Anglet to see if we agreed with Ollie.
Being a seaside town with an expansive beach frontage, golf courses, cycling tracks and set in a region of France that loves rugby, it is easy to see a similarity between Anglet and New Brighton. However, what has made Anglet into a thriving leisure area with a small and vibrant commercial centre, has been the commitment from the neighbouring towns of Bayonne and Biarritz to invest in and support what they see as being the leisure centre of their towns, the place where their citizens come to play. It has been a win-win for all.
Anglet is not only a popular surfing beach with a boardwalk spanning the length of the beach, several surf school shacks and funky eating places along the way and an indoor sports arena at the river end, but it is known for the thalassotherapy spas that have been developed there. Of course, being 'researchers' on behalf of the 'citizens of Christchurch' we needed to delve more deeply into the features that make Anglet so successful. With this in mind, we took our 'self-funded selves' on a thalassotherapy spa treatment day. And we're very glad we did!
Although we had a little difficulty initially, with our understanding of French, the range of treatments we enjoyed crossed all language barriers and were extremely relaxing, different to what we had experienced anywhere, and of course, therapeutic. Mud wraps, massages (hot and not hot) and a hydro - suspension therapy were among the five treatments (all featuring ocean products) our package offered. And to top it off, spending time in the 'lagoon', an indoor-outdoor pool with its myriad of jets, showers and water resistance options was definitely the 'icing on the cake'. It was later in the day that we were in the lagoon and we noticed many local people with season passes, coming in via an automated entry system, to enjoy the therapeutic water treatments of the pool.
New Brighton, from our point of view, is ideally placed to provide a thalassotherapy lagoon/pool complex along the lines of the one we experienced in Anglet. It would be a point of difference for New Brighton and a reason for anyone who wants to be healthy and fit, to come along and enjoy the benefits of salt water therapy or it could be simply a place for a good old soak or swimming a couple of lengths in a lap pool. Once the thalassotherapy pool is established, various enterprises could develop around it. This could provide a boost to the local economy and begin to establish New Brighton as not only 'the playground' of Christchurch but the Christchurch health and well-being centre as well. The New Brighton School site could become a health and well-being related place of learning; a series of remote campuses, temporary or permanent, for established national and global academies/courses. From this, additional enterprises could pop up that focussed on products and services promoting the many facets of health and well-being.
Promoting New Brighton as the thalassotherapy centre in New Zealand is food for thought. We believe thalassotherapy is in line with the concept of New Brighton being the place where people come to play and where health and wellbeing is promoted. As in Anglet, France, it could be that sports teams train in the Christchurch coastal area including therapeutic sessions at the pools. A thalassotherapy pool complex could be a complementary facility to the sports centre in the city specialising in the therapeutic aspects of sport training. Sports people, tourists and locals could take advantage of the offerings in greater New Brighton.
There could be opportunity for private investment and naming rights for a thalssotherapy complex - Richie McCaw Thalassotherapy? Or, Sarah Ulmer Thalassotherapy? Just a thought... In Hendaye, France, near the border with Spain, there is The Serge Blanco Hotel and Thalsso Centre which also includes a cook school. Serge Blanco is a notable French rugby player of the recent past. As we say, food for thought... Of course, there would be certain concessions for local folk as it would be their local pool.
To New Brighton people, and all those involved in making the hot, salt-water pools a reality... can you see the same opportunity that we can?"
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Yes, a spa is possible as part of the wider commercial development plans. The Council-led part of the project is looking to provide
hot pools that can be used by locals and visitors alike. The expansion into
broader, Thalassotheraputic treatments will be considered as part of the
feasibility study for commercial developments.
Tim Anthon, Development Manager
I do not think the area by the Whale pool is big enough for the salt water pools. I think a more ambitious plan would attract more customers, say look at Hanmer pool complex size. There are other sites in the area that can be used. An ideal site would be the now closed Central New Brighton School. Or where the new apartment complex on Marine Parade is supposed to be built but seems to have failed. Lots of options. I think a charge to use the pools is reasonable as long as it is worth while going to, not a small project that attracts nobody.
Although we are only part way through
the consultation, the feedback we are hearing is that the hot salt water pools
need to be affordable for locals and people want it built as soon as possible.
A key factor in delivering on time and on budget is land ownership. Also,
keeping the new facility close to the community play area has benefits. This
makes the area between the Library and the Surf Club (which Christchurch City
Council own) our current preferred location.
We are enjoying reading everyone's
ideas. They will help us design something that will attract as many people as
possible. In addition, specialists are finding out how many people are likely
to visit the pool from Christchurch, Canterbury and beyond. This
information and the size of land required, will help figure out the best size
and type of pools to include while taking into account the cost of building and
running the pool complex.
Tim Anthon, Development Manager
What are the actual plans? I can't find anything on the website or information page to respond to. How big is the area around the Whale Pool that is intended to be used? Are the Hot Salt Water Pools planned to be outdoors, indoors or both?
The website asks for "some high level ideas and concepts", but I would like to see what the CCC has in mind in order to have something to work with on an idea level.
Thank you for your question. DCL are joining the
conversation regarding the Hot Pools and we do not have any fixed designs at
this moment, we are looking to the community to confirm that Hot Pools are
indeed a priority and to share with us what they would like to see. This
information will then be used as part of the justification for proceeding with
the Pools and briefing material for our designers. Tim Anthon, Development Manager
Hi - Would it be feasible to also install a wave organ as the construction work is being done. I saw one recently at Zadar, Croatia, and it was fabulous. There is also one at San Francisco. The haunting sounds of the waves pushing air over the pipes is mesmerising and quite relaxing. The noise does not travel far - you need to be right by the organ to hear it. I'd say there's no better time to do something like this and doubt it would add too much to the cost of the salt water hot pools project.
Thank you for your idea, the integration of art and music
into public spaces is a fantastic way to bring people together and improve the
whole experience. That you remember Zadar is a testament to the power of
public art. Although it is unlikely that the Pools will generate enough
waves to enable a wave organ to work, we will be considering the incorporation
of kinetic artifacts as part of the design. Tim Anthon, Development Manager
Is it viable to put a slide in the shallows of the water at the beach itself? I went to one of these in Aus when I was little and have never forgotten how much fun it was.
Thanks you for your feedback.
These sorts of innovative and exciting ideas are what we are looking for.
The design of the project and mix of activities offered will be developed using
community feedback, while taking into consideration health and safety and
The idea of a slide into the
sea is wonderful. However, the slope of the beach and tide level changes would
mean that for a lot of the time the slide would not be in the water.
Keep the ideas coming.
Tim Anthon, Development