A SPORTS and Leisure facility that Montrose can be proud of.
That’s the verdict from those who have seen the new £9 million Montrose Sports Centre, which opened its doors to customers on Saturday after a formal ceremony.
Angus Provost Helen Oswald did the honours, cutting the ribbon to open the new integrated sports and swimming centre.
The previous leisure centre was on the same site, and some elements of the original building have been incorporated into the new facility.
The old swimming pool, in the Mall, was opened 50 years ago, and the fabric of the building was deteriorating.
So Angus Council invested £8 million in the new project, with sportscotland contributing another £1 million to the development on the Marine Avenue site.
The new pool area is the centrepiece of the development, with a six-lane main pool, a viewing gallery and a studio pool with a floating floor that can be raised, lowered or fixed in place at a predetermined level.
The extended facilities also include a new health suite and 50 station fitness suite. The centre’s squash courts, main hall and junior gym have had a makeover. A new café completes the development.
Unveiling a plaque within the centre Provost Oswald said: “We want to get ‘more people more active more often’, and the new Montrose Sports Centre will certainly encourage people to do just that.”
She added: “The quality of the new facilities is testament to the creativity and commitment of our in-house design team and the professionalism of Ogilvies, the project contractors.”
The Provost also praised the local leisure services team for maintaining services during the construction and thanked partners, sportscotland, for their investment in the project.
Stewart Harris, sportscotland’s chief executive, said: “This is a fabulous new facility for the Montrose community, and it is wonderful to see it now open to the public thanks to the strong partnership between Angus Council and sportscotland.”
He continued: “sportscotland’s investment of £1 million has helped create a modern, vibrant sports centre with an excellent 25-metre swimming pool, health suite, fitness suite, and a host of other facilities. It is vital that we maximise the opportunities for people to become involved in sport and this investment shows our commitment to help develop and support a world-class sporting system at all levels, which will inspire future generations to be the best they can be.”
Phil McEwan, managing director of Ogilvie Construction, said: “This has been an extremely complex project to deliver, with its success dependant on the ability of all parties to work co-operatively throughout its duration. We trust that everyone in the community will benefit from these excellent facilities for many years to come.”
Mark Salmond, Montrose Independent Councillor, explained to the Review how, when he was finance convener in the previous administration, he had put together the finance package to enable the pool to be built.
He hit out at the SNP, then in opposition, for opposing the project.
The Councillor added: “Montrose’s new 21st Century sports complex opened to the public and it was the proudest day of my 10 year council career to hear the fantastic comments and feedback about the excellent facilities on offer and to know the major role I had played in delivering this legacy project for Montrose.”
However, he felt that the ribbon-cutting ceremony was disappointing because the Provost: “who cut the ribbon, did not say any words at all.”
Councillor Salmond said that people who had waited outside for more than half-an-hour felt it was bizarre that no speech was made.
He went on to say that he is writing to the Chief Executive to “alert him to the concerns raised” with him by constituents.
He concluded by saying that he hoped this does not overshadow Angus Council’s £9 million investment in Montrose.
l See more pictures of the new leisure facilities on page 10.