Monday, July 25, 2011

Curling's future secure at Perth

One definition of rumour is 'information, often a mixture of truth and untruth, passed around verbally'. These days, rumours circulate widely thanks to the internet, and not just by word of mouth. I don't do rumours much on Skip Cottage Curling - for one thing, I don't like to pass on the 'untruth' aspects of what one tends to hear. I always try to seek confirmation, or otherwise. So when I began to hear rumours about the Dewar's Centre in Perth last month, I made an effort to find out just what was happening there by contacting Bill Duncan, the chairman of the rink's board.

Bill assured me that the future for the Dewar's Centre was positive, rather than negative as the rumours were suggesting. He said then, "Can I take this opportunity to remind the curling world that our financial position continues to be stable, and like all good businesses, we are always looking for new development opportunities to take our business forward."

It all becomes public knowledge today as the news that is likely to affect the Dewar's Centre has been released.

Live Active Leisure is an independent ‘not for profit’ company limited by guarantee with charitable status, and is contracted (by Perth and Kinross Council) to operate fourteen leisure venues in Perth and Kinross. This includes the Dewar's Centre, which many regard as Scotland's flagship curling centre with its eight sheets of ice and is, of course, a regular venue for the Scottish Championships.

Today's press release from Live Active Leisure reads, "Working closely with partners and consultants, Live Active Leisure has now developed a vision for sporting and leisure facilities in Perth and Kinross to ensure provision for our community for the next 20 years and beyond. The developing vision focuses on the site currently comprising Perth Leisure Pool and the Dewar's Centre and it is proposed to create a ‘Live Active Leisure Park’ with significant reconfiguration and redevelopment of the pool area and its ‘fun features’ for example.

The purpose of the Leisure Park site would be to more effectively meet current and future needs and aspirations in a manner that reflects economic and environmental challenges, whilst also being more flexible to reflect shifting activity trends.

Bill Duncan (Chairman of Dewars Centre) said: The Board of Dewar's Centre supports the ‘Live Active Leisure Park’ vision that will secure the long term future of the facilities and build on much of the sporting success enjoyed in this area whilst also recognizing the need for a more sustainable future. Sport plays such an integral role in enhancing the lives of so many people across Perth and Kinross and also acts as an economic stimulus, so having a vision that covers at least 20 years is both exciting and necessary for Perth.

Perth and Kinross Council has agreed to provide £5 million of financial support to this project and Live Active Leisure are in the process of preparing further funding bids to organisations such as sportscotland.

The Council’s Lifelong Learning Convener, Councillor Liz Grant commented: In making this capital commitment, we are determined that our leisure facilities continue to improve to meet the challenges and needs of the future. It is time for more radical change to keep our ice rink and swimming pool at the forefront. I look forward to working closely with Live Active Leisure to make sure we have the best possible facilities for residents and visitors alike.

Linton Scarborough (Chairman of Live Active Leisure) said: The commitment to working in partnership to ensure this exciting project keeps Perth at the forefront of innovative and efficient sports and leisure facility provision is something that can only be great news for everyone wishing to live active in this community in the next 20 years. I applaud the vision and commitment of Perth and Kinross Council with whom we are working closely and their support provides Live Active Leisure with a great start to our efforts to secure all necessary funding and turn our vision into a reality in the years ahead.

In these times, it is good to hear of investment in sporting facilities. Of course, the above press release is short in detail. However, a Project Manager for the vision will be appointed soon, and only then will we all see what difference the investment will make to our sport, and exactly what the Leisure Park complex will include.

Last words to Bill who says, "I believe that this is an exciting project which should give stability to the business well into the future."