Fate of Glenalbyn Pool hangs in the balance

by Gazette Reporter

THE fate of Glenalbyn Pool, which has been closed for more than a year for renovation work, hangs in the balance this week as Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has cast doubts on whether or not it will reopen.
Director of services for the council Richard Shakespeare told councillors at a meeting on February 9 that although €10m had been set aside to refurbish the pool, there would be difficulties in going ahead.
He added that because half of the population of Stillorgan was more than 40 years old – a figure that would rise to 78% by 2036 – the demographics suggested that reopening the pool would not be viable.
However, in a statement to The Gazette, Deputy Olivia Mitchell (FG) refuted the demographics, saying: “The really telling fact is the forward planning figures of the Department of Education and Skills [which] indicate a rapidly expanding population.”
Cllr Deirdre Donnelly (Ind) and Deputy Shane Ross (Ind) have organised a meeting on Friday, February 13 at 8pm in Glenalbyn House to oppose scrapping plans to reopen the pool.
Deputy Ross told The Gazette: “Glenalbyn Pool is being allowed to languish and deteriorate further as the council fiddles and delays. The axe is hovering over the future of the pool and it looks like the community is being softened up by the council for its closure.
“We are resisting this at all costs, and insisting it reopen. The council has given all sorts of excuses in the way of traffic difficulties and an absurd demographic profile.
“There is no doubt the council intends to close the pool and the rest is a complete camouflage.”
Several options were presented to councillors at Monday’s meeting, and it was suggested that a working committee be set up to meet and report back to the council over the next few months.
Cllr Deirdre Donnelly (Ind) said: “Although I welcome the setting up of the committee, I am quite dismayed that the whole process is taking so long.
“I am constantly asked by parents, swimmers and special interest groups about the re-opening of this facility. It has been badly missed in the Stillorgan Ward and surrounding areas.”
Cllr Catherine Martin (GP) expressed disappointment that the majority of councillors at the meeting opted to establish a working group of six councillors to discuss the pool, rather than choose her motion to proceed with plans for a new pool build at Glenalbyn.
She said: “It adds insult to injury to now engage in a further stalling mechanism in the form of a working group.”
Cllr Neale Richmond (FG) said: “This is a crucial time for the Glenalbyn project – there is a serious challenge, in terms of the age profile of the area, and the potential amount of use a new pool will get, it is vital that a new pool is sustainable.
“I am hopeful that a new pool can and will be built, but there is a need to be prudent as there is a lot of money involved.”

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