Resignation rocks swimming pool project

Former SCCL chairman Andrew Sinclair, far right, at the regeneration Charrette held in Girvan last year.
Former SCCL chairman Andrew Sinclair, far right, at the regeneration Charrette held in Girvan last year.

THE PROJECT to build a new swimming pool in Girvan suffered a major setback this week with the resignation of the chairman of the community body leading it.

The shock resignation of Andrew Sinclair as head of South Carrick Community Leisure (SCCL) came on Friday at the end of a frustrating week in which, it was revealed, all four candidates for the important job of project manager for the scheme had pulled out.

Now the search is on for a solution which will get the project back on the rails.

In his letter of resignation, Mr Sinclair said that the failure to appoint a project manager had been a “major setback” for the pool development plans. However, he also revealed his deep-seated reservations about the progress of the plans, saying: “We should be a lot further ahead than we are”. And he stated his disappointment that “no real progress” had been made in the design and planning processes, whilst casting doubt on the effectiveness of the partnership between SCCL and South Ayrshire Council, describing it as “not what it should be” and “not on an equal footing”.

Response from civic representatives came swiftly.

Councillor Alec Oattes, said he was “shocked and saddened” by Mr Sinclair’s decision but that he could understand the “frustration” which lay behind it.

Councillor Alec Clark said he was sorry to hear of the resignation of Mr Sinclair and that he would” work hard” to move the project forward.

Councillor John McDowall, deputy leader of South Ayrshire Council, said Mr Sinclair had performed “over and above” what could have been expected of him and re-affirmed the council’s intention to deliver the new facility.

Response to the resignation of the chairman of South Carrick Community Leisure, Andrew Sinclair, came swiftly from across the political divide.

Councillor Alec Clark said: “As the local independent councillor I am really very,very sorry that Andrew felt that he had to resign, whatever his reasons and frustrations.

“I want to give a guarantee that I was elected on the basis of driving and giving support for the town and that is exactly what I will do.

“Since the news broke, I and my fellow councillors in Girvan have had various meetings to find out what, if anything, is wrong, to find out why and to make sure the project moves forward. This project is of paramount importance and, at all costs, it must go forward.

“In the short term, we are trying to make sure, and feel that we have made the case, for a senior council official to be there to support the board.

“We have 100 per cent support from South Ayrshire Council for this project to move forward. We want to make sure that this situation is just a setback”. In his response to Mr Sinclair’s letter, Councillor Alec Oattes said “I am shocked and saddened by your decision to stand down as chairman of the SCCL but can understand the frustration you feel which has brought you to this decision.”

He thanked him and his other volunteer board members for their work over the past two years and assured him that the issue would be discussed at the “highest levels” within the council.

He added: “If this project fails, it will quite rightly have major implications, for the residents of Girvan and South Carrick, as well as being a major political setback for councillors and officers of the council, the ramifications of which I shudder to comprehend.”

Deputy council leader John McDowall paid tribute to Mr Sinclair’s hard work and said it was unfortunate that he had decided to resign.

However, he believed that the project would continue to gather pace, and reaffirmed the council’s commitment to securing a new community multi-faceted facility in partnership with the community leisure group.

He added: “This remains a priority in our strategy for the regeneration of Girvan,” he said, “and I am sure that both the board and the council will now refocus our joint efforts to deliver this. I have been in discussion with senior officers as to how best this can be achieved” .