June 26, 2022

First with the Alderney News

Chief plea to States for help to finish the swimming pool

4 min read

Cash and leadership request: The project ran out of funds two years ago

Alderney community pool trustee Kerry Wedd issued a public plea to States Members this week for aid to help them get the facility finished.

He used residents’ chief plea rights at the September States of Alderney meeting to appeal for a further funds and a States-appointed project manager to see the project through to completion.

The community pool building has languishing in weeds since funds ran dry more than two years ago. Cash is needed to put in the 25m pool itself and install heating and filtration systems.

This is how the pool is projected to look when finished

Mr Wedd told States Members that £250,000 was needed to make the pool and gym functional and £300,000 would allow them to build wheelchair access and include an extra car park space.

‘Essentially, what I want to say today is that ‘whatever the rights and wrongs over the years’ – and there have obviously been a number, – ‘we are where we are’ . Trustees have done their level best for many years but have reached the stage where we can go no further without a strong lead from States Members.’

Construction started in 2014 with the demolition of the old outdoor learner pool.

Around £600,000, a combination donations and States grants, was spent on getting the building constructed and changing rooms and gym finished.

The gym and changing rooms are finished

Last year a long awaited States-funded survey of the work revealed structural weaknesses at the site. The States advised trustees that they needed to arrange remedial action and supply an up to date business plan before further grants could be considered.

Mr Wedd said:

Rumours of widespread concrete weakness and unstable structures have been greatly exaggerated. A preliminary report noted several areas of weakness but this was leaked even before it had been properly examined by Trustees and contractors.

‘After mature consideration, a second, totally independent report was commissioned for our States by Guernsey- based Structural engineers, Babbe Mc Cathie. This official report concluded that ‘the proposed works, if completed correctly, can bring the pool and the enclosure into line with current building regulations and can remain serviceable for at least 50 years.’ The report answered most of the problems – but it took over 6 months to produce.

Contractors and Trustees have now reached agreement about the necessary remedial work. Once this is completed, we will move towards introducing a strong Community Management team to help take the project forwards.

‘Most importantly, Back In 2017, a previous P and F Committee approved an additional £25,000 to appoint their own project manager. For one reason or another, this did not happen but, Until this important appointment is made, we cannot really move forwards.

‘It is quite obvious that we will need to sign off the repair works when they are completed and the project manager will be able to do this for us. At the same time, the Manager will be able to keep States Members fully informed and keep the project moving.’

Mr Wedd reminded States Members that the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture had expressed the intention that every child in the Bailiwick should have access to a swimming pool. Improving sporting facilities also forms part of the Bailiwick wide Survive and Thrive plan.

Mr Wedd said:

‘The essential question, which still demands a clear answer, remains. Have we now reached the stage where Alderney really does need to have its own community swimming pool?

‘If the answer is ‘yes’, then can we here present combine with Guernsey to do something really worthwhile for this little island, over the next few months, and provide a first class facility?’

‘If States Members agree that this should be a key target, I suggest that a top priority must be to introduce a Project Manager without further delay.’

James Dent, chairman of the Policy and Finance Committee, said they would consider the requests afresh.

He said:

‘The tremendous contribution by the community toward the development of a swimming pool, both in terms of effort and donations, is recognised.

‘While it is not law in Guernsey that schools must have swimming pools, I understand there has been a stated intention by the Committee for Education Sport and Culture that junior school aged children should have such access. We trust this will followed through by the newly elected States of Guernsey and look forward to ongoing dialogue with them on this matter and for their tangible financial support, at least in respect of the provision of facilities for pupils of St Annes.

‘The need for a project manager was seen as being important to ensure the project could be delivered to the required standard, within a reasonable timeframe and provide assurance that the predicted completion and running costs were realistic.

‘In light of the representation at Chief Pleas the Finance Committee will be asked to review the current position and consider whether the funds continue to be available to engage a project manager and where this item of expenditure ranks in terms of the other competing expenditure demands.’

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