Uncertain future for Bearsden sports center

GV off allander'em'27/1/09
GV off allander'em'27/1/09

FEARS continue to grow over the future of the Allander sports centre in Bearsden.

East Dunbartonshire Council’s recent Budget Consultation contained a proposal that one of the district’s three leisure centres could CLOSE with a saving of £600,000 from the annual £2m it costs to run the three centres at Kirkintilloch, Bishopbriggs and the Allander,

While only a proposal at this stage, sports centre users believe that the Allander could be ripe pickings for the axe, since Kilmardinny developers have already called for its demolition alongside a perceived blessing from some council officials.

Members of clubs who use the Allander are suspicious of why sporting organisations were not on the list of consultees.

The council say one in four households got the consultation paper, as did libraries and leisure centres.

A spokesman said a series of stakeholder workshops had also been held with voluntary and community groups and that council employees had also been consulted.

However, representatives of various Allander clubs have told the Herald they knew NOTHING about the proposals.

Hamish McKay secretary of the squash club said: “It would have been very easy to have communicated with the stakeholders by a prominent poster in the foyer advising that the Allander closure was an option in the savings consultation.

“This would have been a very cost-effictive means of communicating with users and one has to wonder why the potential loss was not flagged up on the doorstep of the facility”

Margaret Zoma, Allander gymnastics coach said: “It speaks volumes that the council didn’t see fit to send the consultation document directly to Allander clubs representatives - I know of no one who saw the consultation paper in the Allander foyer.”

Bill Scott, senior coach and organiser of the Allander Indoor Bowling Club said: “We provide the only bowling facility across the three leisure centres.

“The council claim to encourage inclusion so they should be talking to those who provide it - and at least have taken a sounding from us.

“We offer facilities from youth to senior citizens and it is disgraceful we were not consulted directly.

Regular Allander user Ernest Watt discovered on Monday - the consultation close date - about the proposal within the Community Services section of consultation paper and told the Herald: “The proposal if implemented would have a dramatic effect on the lifestyle of Allander users and members of various clubs I have spoken to say they knew nothing of the proposal.

“If one of the three leisure centres is to be for the chop I do not hold out much hope for the survival of the Allander with some of our present lot of councillors unable to keep public toilets open.”