VANDALS who forced the early closure of Montrose Swimming Pool at the weekend have been condemned for their “deplorable” and “disgraceful” actions.
The incident brought a sour note to the end the 50-year life of the pool which was due to close its doors for the last time on November 11, just a few days before the opening of the new pool and sports complex at Marine Avenue.
It is thought that several missiles, stones and possibly a pool ball, were thrown through the windows, smashing two, the glass from which fell in to the pool itself.
Staff, who discovered the damage on Monday morning, made several attempts to remove glass from the affected areas but after further inspections by Angus Council officers it was decided to close the pool.
Draining, cleaning and refilling it would have taken several weeks and involved considerable expense and it was felt it was more economically viable to just close the facility entirely.
Fitness and health suite facilities, however, will continue to be available until November.
Angus Council’s leisure spokeswoman, Councillor Jeanette Gaul, said it is “disheartening” that local swimmers have been deprived.
She said: “It is disappointing and disheartening that, as has sadly happened recently elsewhere in Angus, a tiny minority of antisocial individuals are spoiling the facilities which we provide, at great public expense and at times of severe budget cuts, for the benefit of the whole community.
“In effect, the children and adults of Montrose and further afield are being deprived of swimming facilities for several weeks due to the behaviour of a small number of people. I urge members of the public to be vigilant and to contact Tayside Police immediately if they have any information on this deplorable, disgraceful incident.”
Local councillor David May also urged anyone with information to contact the police.
He said: “The council had no choice but close the pool. It’s appalling that due to the behaviour of a small number of vandals the children and adults in our area are now being completely deprived of swimming facilities in the town until the new pool opens in November. I hope that anyone in the area who has information on who was involved in this act of vandalism will make a point of contacting our police as soon as possible.”
The incident provoked a furious reaction from the public, one of whom contacted the office on Tuesday morning.
The man, who asked not to be named, said: “I hope the person responsible realises that all the youngsters who use the diving boards, inflatables and swimming lessons now cannot. All pool birthday parties will now have to cancelled. All because someone decided to smash a window in a case of stupid vandalism, which has now denied the public use of a great pool until its proper closure.”