Swimming Facilities (Aberdeen)

Question Time — Scottish Executive — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:41 am on 22nd March 2007.

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Photo of Richard Baker Richard Baker Labour 11:41 am, 22nd March 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what business case has been received from Aberdeen City Council in relation to the construction of a 50-metre swimming pool in the city. (S2O-12443)

Photo of Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour

Aberdeen City Council wrote to me on 30 August 2006 with a proposal for a 50-metre swimming pool. I replied to that letter on 15 October. I have not published my response, but I am considering a request for me to do so under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. In my reply I recognised the need for a 50-metre pool in the north-east but expressed concern about the funding that was requested by Aberdeen, which was in excess of the awards that are available through sportscotland's building for sport programme and the national and regional sports facilities programme. I suggested that the council discuss the matter further with sportscotland, in order to develop a realistic, viable and affordable proposal. I remain supportive of an affordable bid for a 50-metre pool, if the case is made.

Photo of Richard Baker Richard Baker Labour

The minister's answer is welcome. Will she assure me that sportscotland and her officials are willing to meet Aberdeen City Council to discuss the expeditious drawing up of a workable business plan for the pool? Does she agree that it is irresponsible and counterproductive to call for the fast-tracking of such an important project without reference to a business plan or to how the project will be funded, as local Scottish National Party representatives have done?

Photo of Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour

There have been informal meetings between my officials and Aberdeen City Council and between sportscotland and the council, and there is a proposal to have a tripartite meeting, at which we can try to get some sense into the situation and make progress.