NI swimming pool forced to close after tiles fall from roof

A DUP MLA has urged Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council to abandon any ambitions for a new multi-million pound leisure centre and focus on maintaining its existing facilities.

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 6:15 pm
Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre in Ballymoney

It comes after the local authority was forced to close both swimming pools at the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre in Ballymoney due to safety concerns.

It is understood a number of tiles have fallen from the roof of the pool area.

A council spokesperson said it is taking steps to ensure the pools are reopened “as soon as possible”, and asked for the public’s “patience and understanding at this time”.

However, a number of customers who have paid in advance for their children to attend swimming lessons at the facility have called for the council to issue refunds.

One mother said: “If this is likely to continue I would like the money refunded for both of my boys swimming lessons so I can book them in elsewhere.”

The News Letter asked the council what provisions were being made for these customers, but it simply said: “Further information about the closure period will be released in due course.

“Alternative swimming facilities are available at Coleraine Leisure Centre and Roe Valley Leisure Centre.”

North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey said the situation “reinforces” the need for the council to carry out refurbishment of its leisure facilities across the borough.

His party colleague, Councillor John McAuley said it was the ambition of a some council officers and councillors to push for a new multi-million pound leisure centre in Coleraine.

“I would describe it as being on the council’s capital build wish list. It is something I would be very reluctant to support as it would be to the detriment of other areas in the borough,” he added.

Mr Storey said many people in Ballymoney and Limavady were concerned that leisure facilities would be centralised in Coleraine.

He said: “Instead of a grandiose scheme of building a big new leisure facility in Coleraine, the council needs to look after the assets that they already have.

“The continued centralisation of everything in Coleraine is I think not good for the people of Causeway Coast and Glens.

“My view is that money would be better spent on existing assets to ensure people have access to good facilities locally.”

The News Letter asked the council to respond to Mr Storey’s remarks, but we received no reply.