Councillors back call for new pool

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Banchory councillors have responded to the outcry for better facilities in the town.

Over the past few weeks The Piper has received a number of letters and messages from Banchory residents expressing the need for a new swimming pool along with other leisure facilities.

In last week’s newspaper we featured several messages from our Facebook page and this week local councillors have given their views on what the town needs.

Cllr Karen Clark said: “I am delighted to see the overwhelming support for a new pool in Banchory coming into the Piper via the Facebook page.

“I have gone on record saying that seeing a new pool and leisure complex built, is one of my main priorities as a ward councillor. Progress is being made and despite the lack of public coverage, there are positive efforts being made behind the scenes to bring this project to fruition.

“We know as a community that there is huge demand for such a facility.

Bandswim raised funding with massive support from local people. But the crucial remaining issue is the revenue cost and whether it can be financially viable.

“All pools run with a deficit and for us to get the green light from Aberdeenshire Council, the business plan and operating costs need to stack up and prove to be viable in the long term.

This work is currently ongoing and it may well be that one of the options for making the project sustainable is for the community to operate the new facility as a Trust. I am sure that the people of Banchory and Mid Deeside are up to that challenge if required.

“Many local people over the years have invested a great deal of time, energy and money into this shared vision and we are not going to stop now. Keep your voices loud and clear and continue to make your support known.”

Cllr Jill Webster said: “I believe the people of Banchory and surrounding area deserve a new leisure facility and pool. I welcome the contribution made by the Piper and residents via Facebook which reconfirms this long held aim, an aim included in the community’s Banchory Action Plan and the Council and Community Planning Partners’ Marr Area Plan.

“The need for a pool is proven by the Sports Scotland facilities Planning model which shows the demand for swimming in the area is not met by the current facilities.

“There are so many advantages to this project. It would meet healthy living objectives, contribute towards developing sporting excellence, tidy up the wasteland in the centre of Hill of Banchory and be heated sustainably using heat from the new Hill of Banchory Biomass plant.

“I noted comments made on Facebook: “It is not the lack of space but the lack of volunteers which is holding us back” and “time for a revolution of younger generation to take hold of our community”. I attend many community group meetings and I am impressed by the dedication of local people who are committed to improving our community.

“However, much is done by a few people and I have often called for more people to become involved in what is happening in the community. I would encourage people to make contact with these groups in order to contribute towards taking forward the many projects which are ongoing in the community.”

In a letter to The Piper (see page 19) Cllr Linda Clark says: “It’s excellent to think we could at last have a swimming pool, we’ve been waiting for it over a very long time.

“I would love to have some more play equipment in areas where it has become very tired and I have already started this process. However I’m not so comfortable with where this new-found money came from.”