The cutting of the first sod has offcially marked the start of work on Fraserburgh’s new pool, sports facility and community centre.
Cllr Sydney Mair, chair of the Banff and Buchan area committee told an invited gathering that the start of the long-awaited works was something the whole community could be proud of.
Carrying out the duty of cutting the first sod was John Simpson of Fraserburgh Car Sales, who completed the task with a special spade donated by C. and A West of Fraserburgh.
John paid £500 as part of FISSH’s fundraising efforts to cut the first sod with Dick Sports of Fraserburgh engraving the spade especially for the event.
The pool complex, which is to be built to high environmental standards, will include a wide range of sustainable materials, high levels of insulation, the use of natural daylight and a biomass boiler. The old pool is set to be demolished.
The centre will include a competition specification six-lane pool, a small training pool, a three-court sports hall, gym and fitness studio.
Commenting on the occasion, Councillor Brian Topping said: “I’m delighted we have now got to the stage where we are starting work on building the town’s new pool.
“It has been a long campaign for those of us who have been pushing for new facilities such as this for the Broch.
“Being a part of the education committee, I have played a significant part in constantly campaigning for the pool and lesisure facilities.”
“What makes it all the better is that it has been a community campaign, and I should like to pay tribute to the work done by FISSH and their efforts to ensure that a new swimming pool for Fraserburgh was always at the forefront of the sporting agenda.”
The project headed by Stewart Milne Construction Limited will cost more than £8m as part of Aberdeenshire Council’s Capital plan. There was also funding from sportscotland lottery funding of £500,000.
Councillor Iain Tait has also been at the forefront of the new swimming pool and leisure complex.
He told the Herald: “I have worked to get this new pool for many years now with council officials and others. It was obvious to me that it was better to spend money on a new pool rather than on trying to repair the present old one which is well beyond its use-by date.
“And so, like many others in our area, I am delighted to see the first sod being cut to signify the start of the construction of our new pool. When complete, we will have a pool and fitess centre that will serve the children and adults in our area very well.
“The excellent thing about swimming is that it is popular across all the age ranges and provides recreation and healthy exercise across the age ranges. We should not forget to mention how successful our young swimmers in competittins across the country too. Our youngsters will have a top-notch facility to use.
“This new pool will draw more people into the town and will help our local economy and hopefully help to get some of these closed shops open again. I look forward now to when it opens.”
Local fundraising group FISSH (Fraserburgh area Initiative for Swimming, Sport and Health) are paying for a 40-metre internal flume for the pool and have been raising funds with events in the Broch and surround areas. The group still actively fundraising even auctioned off the honour of cutting the first sod.
FISSH member Doreen Mair said: “We are so pleased for the area that this project is now at the construction phase, and that soon we will all be able to enjoy the new complex. Well done everyone!”
A fun day at the existing pool and community centre to launch FISSH’s “Splash for Cash” sponsor week is the next fundraising event on Sunday, September 4.
The new pool facility provides the main entrance area to the building, a village changing area with shower and toilet facilities, disabled user’s changing and toilet facilities.
As well as the 25-metre pool, there will be a multi-use learner pool, raised bench seating at the poolside, a first aid room and sauna/steam room facilities with a rest area.
The reception and a large social area have views into both the pool and the sports hall, and the new sports centre provides team changing rooms, a fitness suite, youth room, office, meeting areas and a sports hall with various storage rooms.
Speaking at the cutting of the first sod Derrick Anderson from the Stewart Milne Group, said it was good to start making the swimming pool and leisure complex a reality.
He said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project. We will be starting work next month and will be hoping to finish by December next year. We will be looking to turn your vision into reality.”
The new community centre facility also provides a multi-use room, a room that can accommodate children’s activities, toilet facilities and kitchen, together with various staff and office areas.
The new building is expected to open its doors in early 2013.