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2021 is new target date for much-delayed Alderney pool

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CAMPAIGNERS for Alderney’s community pool are aiming for a completion date of 2021 so teams can practise in it for the NatWest International Island Games in Guernsey.

The pool building, gym and changing rooms have gone up, although there may be problems with the foundations, but Alderney’s partially-completed community swimming pool lacks the pool itself as well as the filtration and heating systems. (Picture by Emma Pinch, 26790026)

So far, construction has been dogged by delays and work was put on hold two years ago when the project ran out of money.

A total of £600,000 had been spent on constructing buildings for the pool, gym and changing room and resolving subsidence problems. A total of £250,000 was donated by the States and the rest raised by the public and businesses.

However, it still lacks the 25m pool itself, heating and filtration systems – which trustees say will cost around £300,000.

When approached for more money for the project, the States of Alderney commissioned a £30,000 technical review of the structure, which took a year to complete.

It revealed weaknesses in the building’s foundations.

Meanwhile, since 2014 when an outdoor learner pool was demolished to make way for the indoor facility, children have had no option but to learn to swim in the sea.

The stagnant situation has led to public unrest at recent people’s meetings.

Earlier this month States member Louis Jean called for the building to be converted into a sports centre and for a learner pool to be constructed outside for school children.

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However, Kerry Wedd, chairman of the trustees, said he was hopeful the situation would soon be resolved, which would mean they could go ahead and seek funding to complete the project.

‘It’s a delicate situation. The engineer in Guernsey has got our final plans from our architect, Barry Pimm Smith, and we can’t move forward until we have a final report from him and we know whether and how the contractors will accept their responsibility and deal with it. But we are in dialogue with them.’

The options presented were either tearing it down and beginning afresh, or reinforcing the concrete pillars it stands on with steel struts. It would reduce the guarantee from 50 years to 45 years – and that is the option trustees have drawn up plans for and sent off to the engineer for approval.

When those issues are resolved, future fundraising could involve reaching out to the States of Alderney, to the public once more and possibly to the States of Guernsey, said Mr Wedd.

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Education, Sport & Culture is undertaking a review of swimming facilities for children across the Bailiwick and developing a policy on the matter.

Committee president Matt Fallaize visited Alderney recently and had talks with trustees and States members. He acknowledged pupils having only the sea to learn in was ‘not really a satisfactory position’ and said his committee was open to any proposals from Alderney to work together to complete the pool for pupils and the community at large.

He was happy to champion the project, though the money required was greater than the committee could provide under its normal capital budget.

‘I think the initiative needs to come from Alderney but they know we are happy to consider any proposals they have,’ he said.

ESC has previously agreed to contribute £12,500 per year towards the facility’s running costs.

Mr Wedd said he welcomed Deputy Fallaize’s support and looked forward to working with Guernsey and the States of Alderney once technical issues were ironed out.

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