Family’s pool connections run deep

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by Hamish Maclean

Doug Joyce jokes that he walks with a stoop due to the thousands of wheelbarrows of concrete he lugged during the construction of the Temuka outdoor swimming pool 50 years ago.

The younger generations are a bunch of “softies”, the 69-year-old retired builder said with a smile.

Originally from Pleasant Point, Mr Joyce worked for T.S. Gillies Ltd to build the Temuka swimming pool as a 19-year-old in 1970.

With the swimming pool due to be reopened at the weekend after an extensive upgrade, he visited the construction site to admire the work of the younger generation.

He said on the surface it appeared little had changed from how pools were made all those years ago.

However, as an apprentice he was one of six men who moved countless wheelbarrows back and forth on the site in what was a hard day’s work.

He still has photographs of his final day on the site.

This week Mr Joyce joined his son Regan (46) and grandson Fletcher Joyce (17) at the job site for the $1.3million upgrade of the pool as work wrapped up.

Several years after finishing the Temuka swimming pool Mr Joyce started his own company, Doug Joyce Building & Joinery.

Regan took the company over and renamed it Joyce Building.

Now, as Joyce Building completed the upgrade, three generations of Joyce men have had a hand in building the community asset, and Doug’s daughter Letitia Uren works as Joyce Building office manager.

Joyce Building turned the swimming pool from one large pool into a 25m lane pool with a separate children’s learn-to-swim area.

And as far as building a pool went, the basics remained the same, Regan said.

“It’s all very similar except for the panels that line the pool,” Regan said.

“The main structure is very similar in terms of the concrete.”

But along with his son, Timaru Boys’ High School year 12 pupil Fletcher, he was the younger generation Doug was joking about, who had it easy.

The global Covid-19 pandemic delayed the delivery of pool panels from Italy, and the nationwide lockdown interrupted the construction job of about three months, but this week, with the advancement of technology, Regan wryly conceded his job might have been “easier” than his father’s.

The work today was less labour intensive than it was in his father’s day, but it was still not easy, Regan said.

Gone are the countless wheelbarrow loads of concrete. These days, Regan used a truck to carry 6cum of concrete at a time.

The concrete pump pumped it out to wherever he wanted it.

The pool reopens on Saturday.

 A plaque adorns the wall at the Temuka Outdoor Swimming Pool, showing its original opening date 50 years ago when then Temuka Borough Mayor Charles John Leighton Pye opened the pool. (November 16) PHOTO: HAMISH MACLEAN