‘Last chance’ for Laurencekirk sports hub?

The meeting will take place at the Mearns Academy Campus
The meeting will take place at the Mearns Academy Campus

Residents are being urged to voice their opinion next week at an open community meeting at Mearns Community Campus.

As the date of the meeting, on Tuesday April 21 looms closer, Laurencekirk Development Trust, who have organised the meeting, have said this could be the last chance for ‘a fully inclusive sports hub’ for the area.

Speaking to the Mearns Leader and Kincardinehsire Observer, Michael Robson, Secretary of the Laurencekirk Development Trust, said that a generation of children enjoyed using a swimming pool at Mearns Academy, and added that financial pressure could lead to no athletic facility for the school.

He commented: “Learning to swim and having time to travel regularly to continue the sport have both been challenging for residents of the Mearns.

“A few decades ago Mearns Academy did indeed have a small “temporary” teaching pool in the basement of the school. This was used enthusiastically by at least one generation of children. Sadly when it reached its sell-by date the Council of the day failed to renew the facility. A campaign was started to raise money but only achieved modest results.

“At a series of public meetings in Laurencekirk “a swimming pool” has always been next to “a flyover” in the list of aspirations submitted by residents.”

Mr Robson added that the community has to decide whether they wish to fight for a pool.

He said: “We had, of course, expected that when a new academy was built a pool would be an essential element. After all, swimming is a life skill that all of us should have. It would also be the most economical way of providing a pool and it was not even included in the plans submitted to the stakeholder group.

“Once more the community must make up their minds if we wish to pursue this objective. Currently the Council has said it is more likely to close pools than to increase the number available.

“To add insult to injury no athletic facility has been provided on the new campus and financial pressures may well result in the old playing field being sold off.

“With absolutely no room for expansion on the new site this is our last chance to take action to retain the former site which lies directly across from the new venue. This could be our last chance to create a fully inclusive sports hub for all residents of the Howe. Let’s hear your opinions “

The meeting will take place on Tuesday night April 21 at Mearns Academy at 7pm.