Pool debate rages on

OPINION in Montrose remains divided, as final plans for the new £10 million swimming pool are put on display in the town, ahead of Angus Council's decision next week.

At a public meeting in the Town Hall last week, several residents criticised the proposals for not including a deep enough swimming pool for diving and the local Sub Aqua Club, as had been requested at the previous public meeting.

Several people have written to the Review since the meeting, expressing their opinions on the proposals.

In his letter, Harvey Milne of Renny Crescent called on Montrose councillors to listen to the public's views.

Mr Milne said: "For ten million pounds we could have exactly what is required to fulfil the needs of all existing users; eight lanes for competition swimmers, deep water for diving, sub aqua and sheer fun and better disabled facilities, everyone happy and something for us all to be proud of.

"Instead, due to the plan to build not a separate swimming pool but to tag one onto the existing sports centre we are faced with an expensive, wasteful and totally unnecessary adaptation of Montrose Sports Centre which includes the demolition of the centre's relatively new extension, extensive unnecessary alteration, reduction of facilities and a new facade all to be paid for out of the swimming pool budget."

Jim Robertson, of High Street, wrote to the Review about the amount of time that the current swimming pool is used for diving and the Sub Aqua Club; around 4% of the total time is used for these two activities. He said this should not be used as a reason not to provide the current diving facilities in the new 10 million pool.

Mr Robertson said: "There are many pressures on such an amenity and if divers demanded to use the pool for 20% of the time and MSAC for 10%, there would, quite rightly, be a lot of complaints from other users. The pool's resources should be shared amongst the community as fairly as possible."

Margaret Adams, who wrote to the Review on behalf of the Mermaids in Hillside, Inverkeilor, Montrose and St Cyrus, welcomed the proposals by Angus Council and said they were "a step in the right direction".

Mrs Adams said: "As a group of regular swimmers, who have used the pool on a twice weekly basis for over 20 years, we were impressed with the new pool plan and feel Montrose is very fortunate to be allocated 10m funding for such a facility.

"It is impossible to satisfy all potential user groups, however the new proposal will cater for the majority and be an asset to Montrose. Rather than argue about minority users, we should commence work whilst funding is still available. No pool in Montrose is not the answer!"

The drawings will be on display in the sports centre, swimming pool, library, ACCESS Office and museum for the public to view.

Work is expected to start on the new pool, which will be built next to Montrose Academy, in January 2011, with completion by October 2012.

A full meeting of Angus Council will be asked to make a final decision on the proposals on Thursday, June 25.