At the regular meeting of River Community Council last night in the URC hall, the chair, Tommy Hogg asked Liz MacDonald to enlighten the meeting as to how things were progressing with the Nairn Links Paddling Pool. It emerged that the cost of opening the pool next year is presently unknown until a decision is made on how to proceed:
Liz said: “I flagged it up at the last Community Council meeting because I think, the last time, at the beginning of this year we had to spend four thousand pounds for temporary repairs and there’s going to be significant costs to next year’s paddling pool. I think it’s only fair we put it out to the community and let them know what the situation is. I can’t actually give you the...I don’t know the details of how much it will cost to do, to open the pool next year but one of the proposals that we've considered a few years ago was reducing the size of the pool. Maybe building a wall across and cutting off a third of it or less than a third of it so as we don’t need to have supervision lifeguard. As well as that the pool was open for 44 days this summer. It’s not been open very much at all. The weather has not been great for it enough but...I do think...nobody wants to lose the paddling pool that’s for sure but I think we need to be open and let the community input to what happens down there.”
Tommy said: “It is an icon to the town I think myself.”
Liz continued: “It’s a very, it’s historical and it’s also a calming soothing place to be. I’ve been down quite a few times over the summer speaking to parents round about the pool, speaking to the business owner down there and I’ve raised it at the community council because I think it is important that it gets thrashed out. It’s an amenity and it was raised actually at one of the groups that we had, parents were saying well we could have something we could use all year round instead if it was going to be a significant cost.
So I mean, it is just airing the thing, nobody said we are going to close the paddling pool. What we said is we are going to consult on it and we are going to take on board what you are saying and bring forward proposals for everybody and a few years ago in 2012 we did have proposals that were drawn up. People have said we don’t maintain the pool but over the years it has cost a lot in maintenance, not only we’ve had to sort the coping stones that were all chipped, get the net, build the fence round it, sort the pump room, paint it just about every year to seal it and you know it hasn’t been a cheap thing to keep going and we’re getting all that costs added up just now by officers. Because the way the information is stored on the Oracle you can’t just get it easy. I thought we would get that information quite easy but it takes a lot of searching about within the systems to get all the costs out. So I think it is just flagging it up and trying to be honest with folk and to give them an opportunity to input what we do before next year. Because if we left it to next year it would be too late. We have to discuss it now and discuss it now and come to an option that suits all those folk.
There then followed several probing questions and comment from community councillors and members of the public present. The Gurn hopes to publish more from last night’s paddling pool debate over the next day or two.