Sink or swim for pool
Saturday 23rd February 2013, 10:00AM GMT.
ALDERNEY visitors and residents are throwing their weight behind what’s been termed a ‘sink or swim’ effort to finally persuade the States to fund a community pool.
A petition has gone out to parents, supermarket Le Cocq’s, the Tourist Information Office, both newspaper offices and the airport.
Earlier this month the Policy Committee turned down a funding application by the Alderney Sports and Community Trust, which requested a maximum grant of £400,000 to build a small covered indoor pool on the site of an outdoor facility in the grounds of St Anne’s School, as well £12,000 per year towards running costs.
ASCT chairman Kerry Wedd said: ‘The States indicated there was no appetite for the project. Our petition is simply to confirm for the trustees that there is indeed an appetite for it among islanders and visitors.
‘This is a pool that is scaled down to meet the needs of our small island. The running costs will be minimal, thanks to solar panels and mostly volunteer staff on duty, and thanks to its location, Guernsey’s Education Department has already verbally agreed to a significant contribution to running costs.’
He added: ‘If you want a swimming pool, tell us. Don’t stay silent.’
Mr Wedd said he was meeting individual States members for advice on a business plan so it could be put before them again in April.
St Anne’s head teacher Michael Gaunt said: ‘I am fully behind the suggestion that a pool is built on the site of the current pool, as it would enhance provision for students while preserving the learning capacity of the current pool’s provision.
‘It’s a brilliant opportunity to extend the provision to all of the population and the benefits could be far-reaching.’
Richard Proctor, manager of Braye Beach Hotel, commented: ‘My view is that it would be an exceptionally valuable facility for this small island, where we have inclement weather, and it would certainly be very useful as a form of entertainment for all our guests at Braye Beach Hotel.’
But Neil Harvey, chairman of the Business Development, Tourism and Marketing Committee, indicated that there was still work to be done on convincing members to fund the project.
He said: ‘Undoubtedly, an indoor swimming pool would be a useful attraction to visiting families on wet days. However, as ever, funding is the main issue and value to tourism alone would not outweigh the arguments against full state funding.’
* Go to www.swimalderney.org for the e-petition.