ATHLETICS facilities in Montrose are to receive a major boost with a new all-weather athletics track sited next to Montrose Academy and the town’s sports centre.
The project is expected to cost around £100,000 and will be funded from a number of sources including Angus Council, Montrose Common Good Fund and £44,000 from sportscotland.
Montrose and District Athletics Club will also contribute to the cost with money raised by its own members and donations from local businesses and head coach Colin Christie this week said the all-weather surfaces will make a “massive difference” to the club’s training schedule as athletes will be able to train outdoors all year-round.
The training area, which will include a three-lane all-weather, floodlit sprint/hurdle track with pole vault and high/triple/long jump facilities, will be built on the existing playing fields away from the main pitches.
It will be open to local athletics clubs, schools, sports development and the wider community as an alternative training area within the existing sports facilities.
Originally intended to be part of the development of the school’s sports pitches, the plans for the athletics element were shelved due to cost but were revived two years ago by the athletics club and the council.
Mr Christie said: “It has taken a long time for sportscotland to make a final decision and approve it. The initial project was started more than 10 years ago when we started fund-raising, but we’re delighted that it’s going ahead.
“It means we’ll be able to train in the winter as, at the moment, we have to go to the sports centre where our athletes have a maximum of about 25 metres they can run so it’ll make a huge difference to some of our higher level athletes.
“It also means that we won’t have to disappoint the kids. A lot of them like doing high jump but if there’s even a small fall of rain before training we have to cancel it. It’ll be good to be able to plan our training and be able to deliver what has been planned.”
Although the project has yet to be put out to tender, construction is expected to be completed by the autumn.
Councillor Jeanette Gaul, the council’s leisure spokeswoman, said: “We are delighted that this project can now go forward for the benefit of people of all ages in the community.
“When the playing fields were established around 10 years ago, consideration was given as to what could be done for athletics. Original plans indicated that a training area away from the main pitches would be advantageous. Unfortunately, due to costs, this couldn’t be done at the time and the project was put on hold.
“In 2011 the local Montrose and District Athletics Club, along with the council, revived the project, which will now go out to tender, with expected completion this autumn.”