Council splashed €68K on ‘unnecessary’ pool report

by Emma Nolan

FOLLOWING the news that Glenalbyn Swimming Pool may be rebuilt on the same site, it has been revealed that the council spent €68,000 on consultants’ reports to come to this conclusion.
This has angered locals and politicians who have long campaigned for the pool to be rebuilt on its original site since its closure. The Stillorgan pool closed suddenly in December, 2013, and has remained derelict since then.
A consultant’s report, which was initially due in July, was published last month and recommended that the pool be rebuilt at the same site.
The news comes after the decision of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to semi-demolish the building earlier this year, due to safety concerns.
It is believed that the council hired two consultancy firms to evaluate potential sites for the new pool, costing €47k and €21k each.
Cllr Chris Curran (SF) said it has “taken three years to find out what everybody already knew – that Stillorgan’s pool should stay in Glenalbyn”.
He added: “The years spent discovering this fact would have been better served making agreements with local landowners, beginning the Part 8 process, moving to tender and starting construction.
“Instead, we’re back at square one, having spent €68,000 on consultants’ fees.”
Deputy Catherine Martin (GP) also feels that delay in reaching “what was always a very obvious decision was completely unnecessary”.
She said: “The council should have listened to the community, and I would appeal to them to treat as a matter of urgency the restoration of this vital local amenity.”
A council spokesperson said: “It is often difficult to carry out a detailed appraisal unless some project planning, scoping work and initial design work has been undertaken.
“For this reason, the council engaged consultants to assist in the appraisal stages of this project, in line with the Public Spending Code.”
Cllr Barry Saul (FG) said that the next step will be to open formal negotiations between the council and Kilmacud Crokes for an agreement on rebuilding Glenalbyn at its current site.
On hearing the news, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross said: “I am outraged at the huge amount of money which seems to have been quite needlessly squandered on consultants fees .
“It’s now three years and €68,000 later, and we are no further forward in getting Glenalbyn Pool re-opened. Such a large sum of public money would have been better spent on local initiatives.
“I share the frustration of the local community who have campaigned for so long to have this much needed amenity returned to them.”

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