Cut to pool opening hours needs revised

Reduced  opening hours will be introduced at Kilsyth Swimming Pool next month
Reduced opening hours will be introduced at Kilsyth Swimming Pool next month

Kilsyth councillor Mark Kerr has called on North Lanarkshire Leisure to revise its plans to reduce the opening hours of the town’s swimming pool.

As the News & Chronicle reported last week, due to financial cutbacks the opening hours at the pool will be reduced by more than a third.

The facility will continue to open seven days a week, but staff will only work single shifts, resulting in hours falling from 90 hours a week to 59.

The new hours for Kilsyth, to be introduced in November, will be Monday-Friday, 11am-8pm and 9.30am-4.30pm at weekends.

Last week North Lanarkshire councillors voted to reintroduce central funding for all P5 pupils within the local authority area to learn to swim.

Currently schools are instructed to find the money for swimming lessons instead of it being provided through core funding, with only 65 doing so compared to 125 last year.

Airdrie South councillor Paul Di Mascio successfully presented a motion which called on the council to recognise the importance of children learning basic life skills and water safety.

This defeated an amendment by council leader Jim Logue who argued children should be given more opportunities to choose sports which appealed to them, rather than swimming being compulsory.

Councillor Kerr said: “I was absolutely delighted that other members saw fit to pass Councillor Di Mascio’s motion, defeating Councillor Logue’s counter motion and save the swimming lessons in our schools at P5 which were abolished in the most recent budget by re-introducing core funding to all schools as opposed to the case where 50 per cent of schools were continuing by finding the funding by themselves.

“That meant that half of our school kids would not have received swimming lessons this term, and I am so pleased that the school swimming will now continue for all P5 children.

“I have since been in touch with the chief executive of North Lanarkshire Leisure requesting that she immediately re-visit their decision to reduce the hours of the Kilsyth Pool.

“Make no mistake this is a vital and popular facility which needs service development, not service reduction.

“I have requested that she ensure the children of Kilsyth and surrounding villages receive their swimming lessons in their local pool, not out of town and the additional funding from over 4000 school children attending these classes is utilised to make this happen.”

For full story on the reintroduction of funding for swimming lessons see page 13.