Swimmers urge councillors to rethink 50m pool in Craigavon
A council has been warned against making a "catastrophic error that will affect ratepayers for the next 50 years" in the dimensions of a proposed £30million swimming pool project.
A combined group - which includes Portadown Swimming Club, Lurgan Swimming Club and Lurgan Masters Swimming Club - claims a planned 50m by 17m pool will not be able to cater for the estimated 20 stakeholder groups and members of the public who will want to use it.
Instead, it contends that the pool needs to be 50m by 25m to meet the demand, similar to the pool at Aurora Leisure Complex in Bangor, where the dimensions mean it can be divided into a number of 25m pools.
The group said 17m lanes cannot be used for swimming or training because 25m is the recognised length for training, competitions and proficiency badges.
Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council (ABC) is proposing to build the South Lakes Leisure Project on the shores of the Craigavon Lakes.
It is planned to be built by 2019 at an estimated cost of £30m. Councillors will vote at a meeting tonight to allow the next phase of the project.
The swimming clubs have said they have cancelled their planned training sessions in order to bring their swimmers to the council chamber tonight to lobby councillors in person and make their views felt.
In a presentation made to a number of the political parties represented on the council, the group pleaded for a "stop and think phase" to hear its concerns.
The group added: "This building needs to last 40-50 years.
"It needs to be done correctly now to allow for expanding population and growth in the sport - which is the fastest growing sport right now."
When launching consultation on the project in July, ABC Lord Mayor Garath Keating said the proposed new facility represented a "significant investment in the district's sports infrastructure".
He said it would have a positive impact on improving the health and well-being of local people for many generations.