Waterworld hot topic in May’s poll

Campaigners who fought for Waterworld are taking to hustings
Campaigners who fought for Waterworld are taking to hustings
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CAMPAIGNERS fighting to reopen Leith Waterworld are using the council elections to press politicians for a long-term funding commitment to the facility.

The council agreed last month to postpone the sale of the pool to allow a community bid to be put together.

Now the Splashback group which successfully campaigned for the sale to be halted wants political parties to guarantee ongoing financial support if the rescue plan succeeds.

They will question candidates for the Leith ward at an election hustings tomorrow night.

Johnny Gailey, a leading member of Splashback, said: “We will be asking the candidates what their party’s line is on Waterworld.

“We are putting together a bid and we will be looking to bring overhead costs down to a viable level. But the idea they could be reduced to nothing is pie in the sky. It will still require public subsidy.

“We are going to the Leith hustings to see what support the various parties can offer us.

“They were keen to back the idea of a community bid at the council meeting on February 6, but since then we have not had any concrete offers of support.

“We’re going to need political support to get things done and in the longer term some sort of financial support.”

Leith Waterworld was receiving a £350,000 a year subsidy before it closed in January. The sale of the pool was supposed to raise £1 million towards the cost of refurbishing the Royal Commonwealth Pool, which reopened last week.

Mr Gailey said Splashback had organised a visit by supporters to the Commonwealth Pool.

He said: “We thought it looked great, but it is by no means a substitute for Leith Waterworld.

“Back in 2005, when they decided to close Leith Waterworld, the idea was there would be some sort of alternative at the refurbished Commonwealth Pool.

“We still think there is a requirement for a leisure pool. Edinburgh Leisure now has no leisure pool in its portfolio.”

Graeme Gardiner, Edinburgh Leisure operations director, said: “The Commonwealth Pool was never intended to be a direct substitute for Leith Waterworld, However, we believe the venue has a lot to offer children and families.”