A fresh start at the Westland Recreation Centre

June 7, 2018

The Westland Recreation Centre in Greymouth is a very popular pool and fitness facility, so when it had to close for repairs over the 2017/18 summer, manager Nelia Heersink was concerned about how this would affect the community.

But luck was on their side in the form of a brilliantly hot and sunny summer, she says, and the beaches and lakes were a great alternative while the pool was out of action, as was the nearby outdoor pool at Spring Creek, which enjoyed a big boost in visitor numbers.

Now that the Centre has re-opened after a successful renovation, people are pouring through the doors again, Nelia says. She says the facility attracts locals and visitors from every age and stage and background, with its four pools, spa, sauna and hydroslides, fitness centre and Les Mills classes, and gymnasium.

“It is absolutely the hub of the community, because we cater for everyone. We accommodate many different sports associations and clubs; we see babies, children, teens and adults; gym junkies, older people, and people of all abilities. You really do see people representing every different part of the community.”

Nelia says a major highlight is working closely with the local Special Olympics athletes, who come in every week for training at the pool and in the gymnasium.

The people of Greymouth are stoked to have their Recreation Centre back at full speed, she says, especially the parents. “They are so glad that kids can come again during school holidays, weekends and afternoons! It’s a lot of fun.”

Making training a priority

Nelia says that when the Centre hires new staff, they are looking for people with determination and a drive to improve themselves, who can learn the skills and the values needed for the job.

The facility works with Skills Active to train and qualify its lifeguards, swim teachers and fitness staff, and Nelia makes learning and development a key priority, taking part in assessment meetings, supporting her in-house assessors, and verifying assessment evidence herself.

For her as a manager, being there along the way as people go through their training is also a form of team building.

“It’s a really good way to engage with staff at a different level. It’s about putting in the effort and the time so that they feel valued.”

She says the team at the Westland Recreation Centre is very proud, not just of their beautiful, newly-renovated facility, but also the high level of knowledge and customer service that they offer.

“It’s a give and take situation. If you show appreciation and respect for your staff, they will give so much back to you. You have to provide them with that support and training, so they can deliver a really top-quality service to the community.”