At the meeting of the newly constituted Nairn River Community Council in the URC hall on Wednesday night Highland Councillor Liz MacDonald gave the members (old and new) a briefing on the paddling pool situation. Starting by making reference to the recent vandalism she said:
“I was looking back there was vandalism in February 2014 and there was similar, coping stones were knocked off. I think the way to take forward the paddling pool is to totally take that one out and build a new one.” She also added that: “The coping stones being taken off have identified that some of the walls are crumbling.”
There was then some conversation about safety issues concerning the coping stones themselves before Liz added more:
“The original proposal was to whip out the base and put in a new base in the existing structure but there’s no guarantee that it would seal properly and then we found out that the walls aren’t good so we might as well whip it all out and put in a new one.”
Tommy Hogg said that he agreed that the base was the problem.
David Walker then said: “Would it not be an idea to put in something that could be multi-purpose that could be used throughout the year because that place is only open two months maybe.”
Liz replied: “that is what the debate has been - if there’s going to be a significant financial investment in a paddling pool."
Liz had more a little later she added: “Prior to it opening in the summer, £4,000 was spent to make it waterproof, now that didn’t work and it leaked all summer and that meant adding a lot more additional chemicals into it. That was a temporary repair. The other repairs coming forward, they weren’t going to be guaranteed either because of the finishing of the walls around it. So I think it has had it’s day and I think if we’re going to have a paddling pool we’re going to have to take out that one and put in a brand new paddling pool, let the community know how much it’s going to cost, they’ll be figures coming forward in the New Year. “
Des Scholes then said: “There was mention of consultation Liz and you have a small time frame before you get back to the summer again; to have consultation and maybe even planning permission and then to put a new one in it looks like there may not be a paddling pool this summer?”
Liz replied, “Exactly.” She went on to say that she didn’t think we could realistically have a new paddling pool built by the summer but that the good thing about the paddling pool was that the pump room and the equipment was in excellent condition.
There then followed discussion about the need for a life guard or an attendant. This took in the size of the pool, interpretation of legislation, the need for a net over the pool and the Blue Flag award.
Drawing debate on the issue to a close, the Chair, John Hume said: "I think we have to wait and see what the Council's new options are going to be. Is there going to be consultation Liz? That's going to be in January?"
Liz replied that there would be consultation in the New Year.