Lobbying for swimming pool will continue

A swimming pool for the Mearns, ideally as part of the new Mearns Academy Community Campus has been “identified as a need” by Aberdeenshire Education Committee.

Mearns Community Council chairman Jim Stuart told the May meeting of the council that there had been “an upsurge” in interest in seeing a pool ultimately as part of the complex, given that work is due to start on the new Mearns Academy this summer.

Academy rector Ian Parkin told the meeting that he would like to see a pool.

“There is sufficient ground for future development, but a swimming pool will not be within the scope of this build.

“The original impetus for this project was government funding. That funding is like of like and I have seen no change in direction.”

Councillor George Carr confirmed that ground had been set aside for building a pool at a later date.

“Future housing development is crucial. If there is demand anything is possible. A pool is not in the Local Plan at the moment and developer contributions would be important to secure in the future.”

Mr Parkin told the meeting that schools in Aberdeenshire using their “own” pools within their own school complexes are no longer charged for doing so.

“This means there is effectively a subsidy to support swimming in these schools, so I have asked where is our share?

“To be fair to the Director of Education she has asked me to obtain costs to take pupils to either Montrose or Stonehaven to swim.”

Councillor Carr added: “A pool is an identified need for this area within the education committee. It ticks a lot of boxes as an unmet need.”

Earlier Mr Parkin said that the tender process for the new school build was about to be confirmed.

He added that an artist has drawn some very encouraging plans relating to the build and the local environment.

Discussions were ongoing as to the use of the outdoor space. The school wants a cross country track and a climbing wall facility, but there is a lack of clarity about who is responsible.

The next stakeholders’ meeting is on June 25.

The school Eco Group had a beach clean at St Cyrus and 100 S1 pupils took part in a litter pick in Laurencekirk.

Mr Parkin added that the P7 inductions were coming up and that in the new term, the first four years of the school will be full. This has led to placing requests from out of zone being rejected.

The rector also referred to the nomination of three local young people for Youth Council Awards, saying that the Mearns Youth Forum do a very strong job.