Ready to make a splash

MONTROSE’S £9 million sports complex will officially open its doors to the public this Saturday.

Angus Provost Helen Oswald will cut the ribbon at 10.30am to officially declare the building open and allow Montrosians in to see the new facilities for the first time.

Angus Council has already held open days for existing and prospective centre members and local councillor David May, who backed the pool replacement project under the previous Angus Council administration, said the town has sports facilities of which it can be proud.

Featuring two new swimming pools, a top-class fitness suite and sauna and steam room, the new sports centre, which took 18 months to build, also includes existing features of the old sports centre such as the games hall, multi-purpose rooms and squash courts which have all been renovated to the highest standard.

It also boasts a sauna and steam room, a 120-seat viewing gallery and spacious changing facilities, with underfloor heating, and fully equipped disabled changing rooms.

Councillor May, who viewed the finished centre recently, said: “I think it’s fantastic and after the two open days people have said to me that it’s a superb facility. It’s a tremendous legacy to leave not just for young people but for all age groups, particularly since we should be encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle.

“It’s great for visitors as well as residents and it will be hugely beneficial for people coming to the town and the county. What has been built is incredibly impressive but what has impressed me most is that is has been designed with everyone in mind, able-bodied and disabled. It’s very high quality and shares a lot of features on a par with those found in private clubs.”

The project has not been without controversy, however, and the proposals initially attracted criticism in the council chamber over cost and design, with some councillors claiming that combining the wet and dry facilities was an excuse to extend the existing Montrose Sports Centre. There were also questions raised over whether facilities in other burghs should have been ahead in the queue of capital projects.

Mr May said: “I was always in favour of it. It wasn’t clear at the outset, when the issue was raised, which pool needed done first and I said at the time that the best thing would be an audit of them all.

“From that it was clear that Montrose needed replaced first and if it hadn’t been we probably wouldn’t have a pool at all now.”