Aquatic centre shuts after staff abused

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The Whakatane Aquatic Centre shut early yesterday after staff suffered abuse from a group of swimmers.

Whakatane District Council Public Affairs Manager Ross Boreham said staff asked a group of swimmers to leave the centre as their behaviour was “compromising user safety” but the group then became aggressive towards staff.

“The people involved repeatedly ignored requests to modify their behaviour and were asked to leave,” said Mr Boreham.

“Their aggressive response resulted in the police being called and as a result, one person has been trespassed from the facility. The decision to shut the pool early was made to defuse the situation and eliminate potential risks to staff and pool users.”

A post on the aquatic centre’s Facebook page stated that the pool would be shut from 4pm and the hydroslide from 3pm due to “reasons beyond our control”. The same post apologised for any inconvenience to pool users.

“The council regrets that such an action had to be taken and apologises to anyone who was inconvenienced,” said Mr Boreham.

“However, public and staff safety must always take precedence in situations like this. To ensure we provide a safe and fun environment for all, pool users are asked to be considerate of others and follow staff instructions at all times.”

A police spokesperson confirmed police had been called to the pool to reports of an assault at 4pm on Thursday.

However, by the time police had arrived the offenders had left. No arrests were made, and police are still investigating the incident.