Gazette gives pool views a public forum

A COMMUNITY that feels abandoned and neglected has spoken out - and spoken out by the barrowload.

Girvan and South Carrick residents made their voices and opinions heard last Friday, when they turned out in force to show their disgust at the South Ayrshire Council's decision to shut Girvan Swimming Pool.

Nearly 150 people showed - and that number would have been greater had more notice been given, as the community pulled together.

The overriding question from Friday's protest was: "Why wasn't the money spent to maintain the pool?"

From the youngsters learning to swim to the pensioners who use the pool to keep active and fit, they facility was well-used by all walks of life.

Since the news became public the Gazette has been inundated with letters and emails from disgruntled locals who feel its "the final nail in the coffin".

One resident who wrote in to the paper, Lorraine Villager, was a youthful 61-year-old when she began learning to swim after overcoming her fear of the water.

Now she fears that after a year of battling her fear and regular lessons throughout last year she will never be able to fully swim.

And why would she, and the many others who use the pool, have to travel 10 miles up the road to Maybole to use a smaller pool that is just as busy, if not more?

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Timing of trip left a lot to be desired

There are three pools in South Ayrshire within a 10-mile distance of each other. Surely closing either Troon or Prestwick would make more sense than one used by many from a rural area?

These two towns are served by better transport links, with regular trains and buses linking them, unlike in South Carrick.

Why was a pool, that just over a year ago passed its health and safety inspection, be allowed to deteriorate so rapidly?

One letter to the paper claimed that the council's excuse that the pool was shut on health and safety grounds was "a pseudonym for miss-management and neglect as it seems to be the practice of South Ayrshire Council to allow any facility which does not bring in a surplus to be allowed to deteriorate until it can be closed for those reasons".

The response from the Girvan public surpasses anything I've ever witnessed in my time here and may be well see the whole community pulling in the same direction.

Normally apathetic voices have been replaced by more proactive ones set on trying to save their valuable amenity.

The turnout last Friday morning on a bitterly cold morning was impressive, but more will be expected at the next public meeting.

To those of you who argue "what's the point?" I'd urge you to get along as it was this largely lethargic attitude and apathetic view that has resulted in the closure.

Sign the petitions, write letters, make YOUR voice heard.

The current administration know that this move puts their future on the line as many people will not vote for them at the next election.

This story won't go away. The council may wish to sweep it under the carpet but it won't happen. There are too many angry voices in south Carrick to let that happen.

And the Gazette is committed to giving these people who are intent on fighting back an opportunity to get their feelings made public.