Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney and Councillor Tom McEwan have today criticised budget cuts and delays to the construction of the new Blairgowrie Recreation Centre.
The delay, which was confirmed in the past fortnight, will see the facility opening pushed back until 2022 – two years later than originally planned. The latest setback follows a decision taken in June by the Tory council to cut £3m from the project’s original investment of £17.7m
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“It should come as no surprise that the Blairgowrie Recreation Centre is being beset with budget cuts and delays – such actions are, after all, the modus operandi of the Tories.
“The SNP administration made significant money available for this important new facility – a facility that would have invested in our young people, provided state-of-the-art leisure facilities for the wider community and demonstrated Blairgowrie’s place as a modern, growing town.
“The cutting of £3m from the Rec Centre’s budget signals a reduction in the scale and ambition of this project. It is a betrayal of the people of East Perthshire, who will be rightly outraged by the mismanagement of this project.”
Tom McEwan (SNP), Councillor for Blairgowrie and the Glens, added:
“When I became a Councillor, one of the projects I was most excited about were plans to replace Blairgowrie’s outdated, tired Recreation Centre with a future-proofed, world-class facility.
“Within a year, these plans were left in tatters by the Tory council. The need for a new leisure facility is the most important planned infrastructure project in the local area, and it is hugely disappointing that a project which was conceived following a wide-spread public consultation is being watered down by the current administration.
“Moreover, I have significant concerns regarding the dimensions of the new swimming pool, which is subject to a proposed 30% cut in size. Indeed, the swimming pool proposals do not meet Swimming Scotland’s Facilities Strategy 2017, which details the minimum standard specifications for local pools.”