‘DELIGHTED TO HAVE BEEN CHOSEN’ Andy Moran of ‘The Movement’ Pic: Michael McLaughlin
Five years after its proposed opening, the new swimming pool complex in Castlebar is set to open in the New Year.
Mayo County Council has confirmed that the new swimming pool and gym ‘is due to open in the first quarter of 2019, once the final finishes have taken place and the facility is handed over to Mayo County Council’.
The council has also announced that Andy Moran’s ‘The Movement’ will be operating the gym at the €12 million facility, which will be located at Lough Lannagh, Castlebar.
In a statement released on Friday, the council said the Castlebar-based gym applied to become a ‘key tenant’ of the facility following an expressions-of-interest competition earlier this year.
The council also confirmed it has appointed an Operations and Facility Manager who will ‘work alongside the staff of the current Castlebar Swimming Pool and The Movement staff’.
The council stated the swimming pool will ‘be run through the existing staffing structure of Mayo County Council’. The current swimming pool in the town is located on John Moore Road.
Andy Moran is looking forward to running the gym in the complex. “We are delighted to have been chosen to take over the tenancy of the gym facilities at the Lough Lannagh Leisure Facility,” said the well-known Mayo footballer. “It is a proud day for the team at The Movement to be able to expand into a partnership with Mayo County Council and provide a high-quality service to the people of Mayo within a top-class facility which will be the envy of many across the country. We can’t wait to get up and running.”
The new facility comprises an eight lane competitive swimming pool, toddler learning pool, gym and aerobics studios, steam room, sauna and general purpose rooms.
Plans for the pool were announced in May 2012 by then Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who said that the pool, gym and an outdoor pursuits facility would comprise Phase 1 of overall plans for a National Outdoor Pursuits Academy.
Phase 2 plans include an eight-lane tartan running track, four playing facilities and clubhouse facilities at a separate site close by, just off the Humbert Way.
In 2012, Mr Kenny said the swimming pool complex was due to be complete by 2014. It has been beset by a series of delays since. Meanwhile, plans for the outdoor-pursuits element of Phase 1 have also been stalled.
A working group report on GMIT’s Castlebar campus last year described the outdoor pursuits element of Phase 1 as being ‘at risk’.
In response to questions from The Mayo News, Mayo County Council said ‘expressions of interest’ for the outdoor pursuits element ‘were only advertised in recent weeks and the next step in that process has yet to be taken’.
They say that ‘ongoing discussions between GMIT Castlebar Campus, Mayo County Council and other parties have centred mostly on growing the campus in Castlebar. Included in these discussions has been the use of the Lough Lannagh complex for both indoor and outdoor pursuits’.
“With the GMIT campus close by there is now the space for indoor pursuits, changing rooms and the use of classrooms to go alongside the outdoor pursuits,” they state.
In response to questions about Phase 2, which has been dogged by fears that there is not enough capital funding to deliver the project, Mayo County Council stated it is focusing on Phase 1 at the moment.
“The council is focused on committing resources to ensure delivery of Phase 1 works (pool and outdoor pursuits) to the very highest of standards at this time and will turn attention to Phase 2 in due course,” they said.
Some work has been advanced for Phase 2. It has land and planning permission in place, and detailed design and a tender process both complete.
The Castlebar Track Group, which consists of people from a range of sporting clubs and groups in the county town, is campaigning for the delivery of Phase 2.
Mayo County Council said it is not in a position to name the new Operations and Facility Manager, but it did state that it was an internal appointment from within the council.