Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Paddling Pool no more? Could an iconic part of Nairn’s seafront go after play-park consultation?

At the West Community Council meeting although time was limited there was quite a lot of discussion about play areas 

Graham Kerr of the Westies gave a report on a recent meeting with representatives of the group in Ardersier that achieved a massive upgrade of the children’s play area facilities in the village. He said:

“The meeting was all about Ardersier’s effort that they put in to get the playpark. Ardersier is two hundred thousand from the Big Lottery to get their playpark up. I think something in the region of 150 was for equipment and the other was for fees and consultations that they’ve done.[...] Their approach was that they’ve done a lot of hard work in the area they have to raise awareness for the project and to get everybody on board and then they have gone through the somewhat arduous task of filling in all the forms, agreeing with the people that were supplying the forms [...] but they just persevered, persevered. What they have ended up with is a very successful play park.”

Graham added that, in Nairn, individual areas of the town would have to do it for themselves but “that it seems the funding is available so long as you go about it in the right way.”

Cllr Liz MacDonald then added:

“Yes I was present as well and the Ardersier group was a group of parents supported by Kate MacLennan the tenant participation officer and he agreed the playground, the principal officer. It took them two years to get them from a having a playground of falling down equipment to their brand, spanking new playground. And I think that the outcome from that consultation meeting was, as well, that there is a group of parents who are prepared, I think it is about twelve parents, who are prepared to get involved in driving forward playground improvements for Nairn; and I think their proposals were for the Links and for the Riverside. [...]

But actually during that meeting when I was speaking to the parents one of them said about the paddling pool and that is the paddling pool good value for money. We know that next year it is going to need substantial money to improve it or would it be better to have equipment in that location that parents could use 365 days a year?”

Liz then held up a large glossy drawing that showed various angles of what the paddling pool area might look like if it were substituted with equipment. She continued: “And I found this in a report that shows you the paddling pool and having the equipment in it rather this is not a proposal, this is just suggestions about what could go in where the paddling pool is and one of them is a big sort of tower with things on it. I just thought, it’s worth flagging that up that the parents that were there were saying well, how good value is the paddling pool and could we have something better there that we could use 365 days of the year.”

Rosemary Young the Chair of the West CC said:

“I think it is a pretty good idea to do that because the one thing that I notice when I’ve been down there when they put the net down and everything; the seagulls come straight in there and sit there, there must be poo going into the water. I’m just thinking it’s not very sanitary [...]”

Liz then said: “I think what we must do is have a consultation on it and be totally open about how much the cost to be to fix the paddling pool and what we could have as an alternative because I know there is a lot of historical attachment to the paddling pool, we’re one of the last ones in Scotland but at the same time the parents are saying let’s give us something we can use all year round.”

Brian Stewart, Secretary of the Westies, then said:
“It’s absolutely right to have a wide range of parents involved but it is perhaps also worth bearing in mind that at least on present evidence the paddling pool, like the Links Tea Room, are heavily used in the summer by tourists and visitors and in any process of policy making or consultation, it hasn’t got to be decided only by a group of local parents. I think it is right to include in the mix (we can’t invite a bunch of tourists to come and join the steering group because, by definition, they are only here temporary) but I think as policy makers, those concerned do need to factor in the tourism function as well as the facility for local residents because it is a part of Nairn’s tourism offering.”


Anonymous said...

Leave the paddling pool alone! This council is as useless as a one legged man in a bum kicking competition.

Anonymous said...

The paddling pool must stay.

Rob said...

A Facebook page has been set up " Save Nairn Paddling Pool" please like and share!

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Nairn most of my life and, like many others, as a kid frequently used the paddling pool and I'm sure there was seagull pool and lots of other things around then and I've managed to survive into my sixties. I bet in my day it wasn't even treated with any chemicals but, if it was then, hey, I survived those as well!

As the Gurn mannie says, the paddling pool is iconic. It's a safe place for young kids to play and if it is in disrepair then how did it get like that and why hasn't it been regularly maintained to an appropriate standard? Is this yet another example of Invercentricism or incompetence? I bet if it was situated in Inverness this idea would not even be mooted.

Still, at least the councillors seem to be following some sort of consultation but this consultation has to go much further than a few parents voicing their opinions - wasn't that the excuse that was used for the big slide debacle? After all it's taxpayers money which will be involved.

So, the paddling pool isn't used for 365 days of the year - the same could be said for lots of things, I'm sure a lot of the play equipment is not used every single day - but surely that is not a good reason to get rid of it. Lots of people moan that there is nothing for holidaymakers and tourists when this is one facility that is used by them and locals alike.

Ditch this idea now and get back to the drawing board, this is definitely a non starter.

Big slide said...

Given Rosemary's worries I just hope no-one ever goes for a paddle in the sea as goodness only knows what poops in that

I walked past the paddling pool yesterday and noted that it was netted and that the water pump was operational. Does it need to be on if the pool can't be used?

I can't see why there has to be an either or situation with the paddling pool as Liz suggests, there's plenty of room to expand the play area with new equipment and to keep the paddling pool

As for consultation. There was an almighty uproar when the big slide was removed. I assume that if the same consultants are chosen with regard the future of the paddling pool there will be a similar venting of anger when it's removed

Judging by the glossy drawings it sounds as though Nairn needs a 'save our paddling pool' campaign as it would seem it's future is in doubt if certain people have their way

Arguably the likes of ice cream, building sand castles and the paddling pool are all seasonal, but why can't Nairn have more play equipment and keep the paddling pool that's so popular with both locals and tourists?

Graisg said...

@anon 7.03 There are children in the West End too. Although Rosemary said that she thought it would be a good idea this observer has no idea where the parents that support such a move live however so have decided not to publish your comment.

365 said...

I'm pretty sure the cricket pitch on the links is mainly used just in the summer. Could it not be torn up and something 365 installed? It's not even a tourist attraction and the cricket pavilion could provide yet another much needed tearoom or charity shop

Anonymous said...

Is this being driven by what Nairn parents want or what Highland Council want? That is to save money and keep the lights on in their Inverness Headquarters. The failure to repair the pool can perhaps be seen in a different light now.

Disappointed said...

The Courthouse is not used every day of the week. Could we pull it down and put something in its place that the community can use 365 days of the year?

Anonymous said...

Could I ask that the consultants to think about having a shelter for parents at the play area as when it's blowing a gale and peeing down with rain there's nowhere for us to go

Also how about it's floodlit as of a winter's evening it gets dark quite early on and lighting would allow kids to make use of it all through the night

Anonymous said...

Why does 'out of touch' come to mind when I read this article and the comments? Seems a common theme for some politicians these days

Anonymous said...

Clearly some people have already decided the future of the paddling pool and it's going the same way as the big slide

You have to ask what next?

I wonder if the Gurn might publish one of its unscientific polls as to whether or not it's readers want to keep the paddling pool?

Anonymous said...

Maybe we could help Liz out and suggest items that could be removed to save money? I'd vote for the bandstand as it's rarely used and nearly every photograph I've seen of the Links it just gets in the way.

Anonymous said...

Why does it have to be 'in place of the paddling pool' - why can't a tower be built in another location and keep the pool. There is a lot of space there.

As for the fact that the pool only gets used for part of the year, you could argue the same for teh beach. In fact, let's cuncrete over the beach and make a row of shops that people can use all year :)

Thank you said...

The Gurn deserves a big pat on the back from the residents of Nairn for bringing so much local information to us as it happens.

I know I use Twitter these days for news but I always look at the Gurn Twitter feed, and before the likes of the Gurn blog we might have been lucky to have read about this story in next weeks Nairnshire Telegraph (or not)

The Gurn provides a great public service - thank you

And lets hope the glossy drawing of the proposed replacement for the paddling pool are torn up once public reaction is realised

Anonymous said...

I see councillor Liz Macdonald has joined the "Save the paddling pool" facebook page. I hope this means she's had a very big change of heart over the matter and will listen to public opinion

Anonymous said...

if it closes,where will I go to wash my feet and do my laundry then

Salty the seagull said...

Yes and where will I go for a poo?

Graisg said...

Re playpark at Lochloy anon, very naughty, will not be posting

Anonymous said...

Or get funds to upgrade it. Instead of a big slide we could have a big outdoor water slide too for bigger kids. It only needs to be little more than plastic sheet and a hose but you could have more outdoor water fun, not less. How about a radio controlled boat pool too