Can’t keep water from leaking into the news – this time it’s a late pool

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”.

Artist's impression of interior of Bangor's planned Olympic-sized swimming pool

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 …

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  • King Zorin

    As a long time Bangor resident the incompetence of North Down Council has long since failed to become a surprise. One only needs to look at the seafront (as stated in the article above) and the general decay of Bangor over the same 20 year period to see where their management has got us.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I think a Reality check is required.
    The “aquatic” sports at London will be made up as follows.
    Swimming……850
    Water Polo …260
    Synchronised Swimming 104
    Diving…136

    Thats 1350 athletes. Plus the Paralympics Games. There are already 50m pools all over England, Scotland, Wales. Most of the stronger European teams (Holland, Sweden, France) wont need acclimatised and are likely to train at home prior to moving ino the Olympic Village.
    It was never very likely any major team would train in Bangor.

    What is important is that the facility is available for post 2012 use by members of the Ulster/Ireland squads. And to facilitate the rotation of the Irish Championships in 50m pools. I believe Limerick and Dublin have 50m pools already.

  • unionistvoter

    While the swimming pool may be late it at least has started. The complete failure of DCAL to press forward with any of the other projects shows the lack of leadership in that department. When this process started we expected not just a swimming pool but a velodrome, indoor athletics facility and martial arts centre in various locations none have yet materialised. Northern Ireland has missed out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.

  • Skintown Lad

    Not exactly easy to get to for the hundreds of people in Northern Ireland that would like to use it. Why stick it in one corner of the place, rather than somewhere closer to the middle? The culchies complaints are ignored when things are situated in Belfast but to have it even further away is really taking the p1ss!

  • just sayin’

    You would only want to dip your sheep in it 🙂

  • Skintown Lad

    Jays I wudn’t waste the chance to have a good wash by puttin sheep in it!

  • Sean Og

    What happened the velodrome project? Has it been scrapped?

  • magnus

    Given the aforementioned incompetence of N Down Council, residents may wish to ensure that what happened in Leeds does not happen in Bangor. In the 60’s Leeds thought they built an Olympic sized pool only to find out it was International sized in width and thus not wide enough for competitions using Olympic width lanes. Still Leeds City Council got the length and depth right and two out of three ain’t bad. You have been warned.

  • joeCanuck

    Like rope off a corner of Lough Neagh?

  • Dropit

    Latest figure from NDBC is £38.8 million of which £21.5million will need to be borrowed from government and repaid over 25 years – leaving ratepayers to pay the capital and £15.3 million in interest – great value — only £1.4 million per year!! It will also run at a loss and require a subsidy of £221.5K per year. I can’t remember getting a vote on this.