Curling club ropes in climbing centre for new academy
A NEW £1.5 million curling academy is set to be built next to the Ratho Adventure Centre.
Council officials masterminding attempts to revive the complex as a world-class sports arena are in talks with the curling club, which quit its premises at Gogar to make way for the new Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters.
The Gogar Park Curling Club has made a move to Ratho a priority after shelving plans approved last year to build a new facility at Kirknewton.
The basin of the massive quarry where the climbing centre has been built, is being looked at for the new six-lane rink.
It is hoped the curling academy will help rear a new generation of international-class curlers, as well as stage top-flight competitions.
In a new report on the Ratho takeover, the council's director of culture and leisure, Herbert Coutts, said: "The council has been approached by Gogar Park Curling Club with a proposal to lease a parcel of land at the adventure centre to build a new curling facility to replace their rink at Gogar. The feasibility of the proposal is currently being investigated."
The Gogar club, formed in 1979, is currently using curling facilities at Murrayfield, where the Edinburgh Curling Club is based. Club chiefs want work on the new facility to begin before the end of the year, with a view to having it unveiled by the autumn of 2007.
Their plans have been unveiled in the wake of the takeover of the troubled adventure centre by the council after the 30 million complex went into receivership, leaving many of the facilities unfinished.
The Scottish Executive has agreed to stump up 1m towards an 8m rescue package, 4.5m of which includes work to complete the rest of the centre.
A new world-class curling academy would almost certainly need further investment from public bodies, as the Gogar club's previous plans were put on ice over fundraising difficulties for the 1.7m development.
A spokesman for the curling club, Hugh Hunter-Gordon, said: "We've been out there a few times to look at it, and it does seem to have fantastic potential for a curling rink."
Colin Grahamslaw, chief executive of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, the sport's governing body, said: "There appears to be a real opportunity here to link curling with all the other sports that are going on at Ratho, which is a great complex."
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