Committee agrees to axe outdoor centre

Kilbowie Outdoor Centre in Oban will close in 2021
Kilbowie Outdoor Centre in Oban will close in 2021

The Labour administration at North Lanarkshire Council has slammed the SNP for misleading residents on the future of outdoor education.

At last week’s Policy and Strategy Committee it was voted 11-10 that Kilbowie Outdoor Centre in Oban will close next year.

This was criticised by the opposition SNP group which claimed the council were denying children the opportunity to experience outdoor education and time away from their families.

SNP group leader Tom Johnston said: “It is a bad decision for North Lanarkshire’s children who have been going to Kilbowie for 29 years to enjoying a full residential outdoor experience

“North Lanarkshire parents all appreciate the Kilbowie experience, yet the council will be planning to sell off attractive, coastal Kilbowie for £680,000 to some housing developer.

“North Lanarkshire children will lose their subsidised experience in Kilbowie, with residential outdoor school breaks becoming the preserve of families who can afford it, thanks to Labour.

“Labour will restrict outdoor experiences to the school grounds and to local areas as residential and school cluster experiences become a thing of the past for North Lanarkshire children.”

Council leader Jim Logue claims the administration plans to bring forward ambitious new proposals next month for the expansion of outdoor education for school pupils.

This, he stressed, will ‘be well in excess of the five days currently on offer at Kilbowie’.

Councillor Logue said: “Once again, the SNP in North Lanarkshire choose diversion over detail.

“The proposal passed at the Policy and Strategy Committee will actually enshrine outdoor provision as part of children’s education in North Lanarkshire.

“We’ve agreed that children should have a valuable residential outdoor experience, but we want to give schools a greater choice in which facilities they use and for that experience to be continued after they have their week away.

“We’ll be bringing forward our proposals in March. In the meantime, the SNP should focus on joining us in preserving and improving on the valuable outdoor experience we offer to our young people.

“The Kilbowie building may be going, but the experience it provides for our young people will stay.”