At long last, construction is due to start on the beleaguered plan to build an Olympic sized swimming pool in Bangor, providing a training facility the right length for talented and ambitious local swimmers. News outlets this morning were awash with details that Farrans had won the £38m contract, which includes £15m from the water-themed Executive.
The BBC report that “construction on the new facility is due to begin before the end of August. It is expected to open by late summer 2012”.
Mayor of North Down John Montgomery seemed to forget the timeframes when he commented:
“This facility will be a tremendous local legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and deliver long-term economic and sporting benefits to the people of North Down and the wider Northern Ireland community.”
But take a look at this “tremendous local legacy” from 2012 games.
We’ll have an Olympic sized pool paid for by the games but opening after the teams requiring training camps have left, and after the games have completed, and long after the original March 2010 opening target.
Last summer, the credibility of getting the pool open in time was questioned, but the council remained upbeat. Now their hopes have drowned. As someone commented on the Belfast Telegraph article at the time:
“they still can’t finish the seafront after 20 years, so what chance is this.”
Thanks goodness the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games organisers weren’t relying on the Bangor facility being in place. Between water rates, NI Water shenanigans and the Bangor pool, water isn’t one of our local strengths. Neither is organising the funding and project management of a construction project that seemingly had money pouring into it from different sources, and a deadline that couldn’t be missed …
Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about and reports from civic, academic and political events, reviews cultural performances, chairs discussions, and live-tweets, streams and records lectures and conferences. He delivers social media training, coaching and consultancy, produces podcasts, is a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland, FactCheckNI board member, and is a member of the Corrymeela Community.