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£40m pool won’t be ready for 2012 Olympics

By Victoria O'Hara

A £40 million Olympic-sized swimming pool set to be opened in North Down will not be developed in time for the London 2012 games, it has emerged.

The 50m pool in Bangor is now due to be completed by the end of the summer in 2012 after the Olympics have finished.

North Down Borough council had been given £15m of Government funding in June 2007 to pursue to project.

It was hoped the pool — the first 50m pool in Northern Ireland— would be open by March 2010 to offer local athletes world class training facilities ahead of the next Olympics.

The facilities that had been earmarked to be developed at Valentine Playing Fields in the town included a 10-lane 50m pool, 5m diving pool and facilities for new aquatics clubs such as diving, water polo and synchronised swimming.

It also included strength and conditioning suites for swimmers, facilities for Paralympic swimmers and headquarter facilities for Swim Ulster.

But Trevor Polley, chief executive of North Down Borough Council, said the development of the swimming pool was not just about the Olympics.

“The main thrust of this has always been that there will be a legacy for the people of Northern Ireland and especially the swimmers of Northern Ireland for a 50m pool, the first in Northern Ireland,” he told the BBC.

“And that will be well-beyond the Olympics and will be useful for Commonwealth Games, etc in the future.

“So really what we were always looking for was a legacy from the Olympics.”

Concerns had been expressed in 2009 that the project would not be completed in time. Local councillor Ian Parsley described it as “an incredibly complex project”.

Belfast Telegraph


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